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- — - — ' 1 







Vol. I. 




TUKNUG-Pomrs in life 


in two volumes 
Vol. L 




2p. j .' 3 3(3 , 





Mt DBAB Wilmott 

I ask your acceptance of this little work in: the 
recollection of many pleasant hours spent at Hatherley 
Lawn, and of the kindness^ sympathy, friendship, and 
hospitality accorded to me there. You will, I am 
sure, overlook its many imperfections in its attempt 
to promote those supreme objects which are dear to 
the hearts of all Christian people 

Yours ever 



Some time ago it was kindly suggested to 
me by a friend that an article which I had 
written in one of the Magazines, entitled 
Turning-Points in Life^ might receive an 
ampler treatment, and bear expansion into 
a volume. This is now done; and I thought 
it best that the original paper, which is in- 
serted by the kindness of the proprietors of 
the Magazine, should form the initial chapter, 
startiQg with which I might best sketch out 
some of the subjects suggested by the title; 
and in doing this some use has been made of 
various papers I have contributed to periodical 

London : Oct 24, 1872. 






General aspect of the Subject— Confessions on Retrospects 6f 
Life — Moral Laws of Human Life — Turning-points in Life 
are not Arbitrary — To a large extent they are Determined 
by the Force of Antecedent Events; so-called Fortuitous 
Events are only such in a Limited Sens^— The Doctrine of 
Providence in the incidents of Life— Turning-points in 
Literature and Science— The Moral and Religious Aspect of 
the Subject « Page 1 



Habit really Determines the Character of the Leading Events 
of Life — No Chance is useful to the man who is unable to 
avail himself of the Chance — The Habits of Youth tinge all 
subsequent History — ^The Laws of Habit — Inherited and 
Transmitted Habit— Atavism— The Tyranny of Habit— The 
Substitute of Habit S3 




Turning-points whicli are * Moments ' in Life, and Points of 
Departure for a New Phase of Existence — A Sudden Choice 
is often a foregone Conclusion — Some Examples in Art ; in 
Education — Bishop Cotton and the two Newmans — What 
is called ' Luck ' is often simply the Result of Skill and 
Energy — Supreme Moral and Spiritual Moments in Life — 
The Recollection of Special Days in Life — An Important 
Ten Minutes ; the Story of General Beckwith . Page 61 



The University Career a special Epoch to a large Proportion of 
Cultivated Men — This will be increasingly the case in the 
Progress of University Extension — Different Views of 
University Careers — Doubtful Destinies of College Dons — 
The Differences between Oxford and Cambridge — Mr. 
Maurice, Mr. Kingsley, and M. Taine — The Universities 
should bring l^ome Education to the Poorest — The Con- 
nection between Common Education and University Educa- 
tion . 108 



Survey of the Professions — ^For most of them Conduct is re- 
quired rather than Cleverness — ^The Church and the Dis- 
senting Ministry — The Bar, its Delays and its Chances — 
Morality of Advocacy — St, Augustine's Opinion — The 
Medical Profession — The Scholastic Profession — The Civil 
Service — ^Army and Navy — People with Leisure — Philan- 
thropy — Edward Denison — The need of Divine Guid- 
ance 144 




How Men obtain Livings — Anecdotes of Chancellors — ^The 
Process of Institution — I^etter of an Old Clergyman to a 
Young Man thinking of Entering the Church . Page 192 



The Argument for arranged Maipriages — Case of Bishop Hall«- 
Schlegel's Philosophy of the Subject — Restraint of Marriage 
— The Language of St. Paul on Marriage — Jeremy Taylor — 
Too much stress laid upon Pecuniary Considerations and 
too little on more important Considerations — Goethe's Mar- 
riage^Hugh Miller's — Henry Venn Elliott's — Lord Aber- 
deen on Mamage — Bishop Dupanloup on Marriage . 214 



Foreign Travel often a Turning-point in Life — Salutary Effects 
of Travel — On doing at Rome as the Romans do — The Effect 
of Association — ^The Effect of Feeling — English Travel — 
The Religious Use of Travel 244 



On Honest Hard Work — Literary Life — Early Efforts— The 
Struggles of Great Painters — Michael Angelo — The late 
Mr. Maclise — The Youth of Pascal — Moments of Scientific 
History — Newton's Uncertainty respecting the Doctrine of 
Gravitation — Sir Charles Bell — Goodsir, the Anatomist — 
FaU Mall Gazette quoted — Sketch of the late Professor 
Henslow — Henslow at Buckingham Palace — His Death — 
Sketch of Mr. Brunei — Schlegel on Faith as determining 
Discovery 274 





Anyone who has arrived at that era of his 
own history in which Memory more than Hope 
governs the horizon of human life — who ana- 
lyses the motives and muses on the events of 
his own life-story, and who learns to watch 
with intense human interest that drama of 
life which day by day is unfolding in all the 
relationships that surround him — will, I think, 
understand the title of this work, and the 
line of thought indicated by the phrase. 
There are, unquestionably, 'turning-points' 
both in the history of the race and in the history 
of the individual. Such are the great battles, 
the great revolutions, the great discoveries of 

VOL. I. B 


history. Each art, each science, has its * turn- 
ing-points,' its moments. Such are evermore 
to be found in the lives of individuals. These 
turning-points are not mere accidents. They 
have generally a moral significance and are 
fraught with special lessons. 

In what men regard as mere chance -work 
there is often order and design. What we call 
a ' turning-point ' is simply an occasion which 
sums up and brings to a result previous train- 
ing. Accidental circumstances are nothing 
except to men who have been trained to take 
advantage of them. For instance, Erskine 
made himself famous when the chance came to 
him of making a great forensic display, but 
unless he had trained himself for the chance, 
the chance would only have made him ridi- 
culous. A great occasion is worth to a man 
exactly what his antecedents have enabled 
him to make of it. 

Next the realm of the fortuitous is also the 

. domain of Providence. The subject is difficult 

enough, but some principles seem perfectly 

clear, that the universe is not bereft of the 

Fatherhood of God, that as the child is trained 


and directed aright by its father, so, "vvith the 
education of the individual, the education of 
the world is progressively carried on. The 
world is given to man that he may conquer 
and subdue it ; the world is the appointed 
theatre for the exercise of his intelligence and 
his energies* We may expect that the pro- 
vidence of God will interpose at critical con- 
junctures to favour the ends which He designed. 
That general training which is afforded to the 
faculties with which we are endowed seems 
subordinated through the events of life to a 
law within the law, to a life beyond the life. 

Every life as it unrolls has its turning-points, 
its critical moments. Among these turning- 
points there is often one that constitutes the 
crisis of being. School, college, business, 
friendship, love, accidents, deaths, may all 
prove such to us. None the less are our 
schemes, our chances, or our mistakes and dis- 
appointments. There comes also a great spirit- 
ual crisis to which ordinary life is related, 
either as the preparation or the result. In 
looking at the governing facts of individual: 
human history there are certain distinction^ 



which require to be carefully drawn. We may 
see that in the moral world there are laws a8 
certain as the laws of the material world. We 
see that courage, energy, enterprise, good faith, 
kindness, are truly fertile with results and with 
rewards. These indicate the ordinary modes by 
which our turning-points in life are affected. 
Beyond this there is the vague, vast chapter 
of incident, that seems capricious, but is prob- 
ably an ordered plan. Taking a larger field 
of vision, we see that this present life cannot 
be understood without reference to super- 
natural facts and another life. Those who 
have achieved the most for our race or have 
struggled to attain the loftiest ideal of charac- 
ter for themselves, have often fallen in the 
conflict* Their story is taken up and finished 
in the life beyond. The banner of humanity, 
soiled and torn here, Will be planted in triumph 
on a happier shore. 

Let me endeavour, at greater length, to 
work out this line of discussion. 

A man must have some self-knowledge, 
some self-insight, before he can dispassionately 
review his own history. A man cannot see 


his blunders while he is playing his game ; but 
when the game is very nearly over he can see 
little else except his blunders. And yet he 
may have played a very fair game after all. 
And it is a truth in military science that no 
battle is fought without blunders, and the 
goodness of generalship practically consists in 
the comparative fewness of blunders. It is 
very touching to see such renowned statesmen 
as Earl Russell and the late Sir James Graham 
— ^men who zealously contended during their 
political career for the absolute indefeasibility 
of their conduct — as the shadows darken, con- 
fess candidly the number and greatness of 
their blunders. And if calm, meditative in - 
trospection is rare, it is something still more 
difficult to understand others, to do justice to 
them, to ' put yourself in his place,' to forget 
rivalries and feuds in sympathy and apprecia- 
tion. Really to do so is a mixed moral and 
intellectual achievement of a somewhat h%h 
order. There are certain stages of growth 
before a man can do this. First of all, man 
has the sense of novelty, the desire, ever unsatis- 
fied, to see, or hear, or do something fresh. 


Then intelligent admiration succeeds the mere 
sense of wonder. Men desire to have a know- 
ledge of the laws that pervade the world of 
matter and the world of mind around them. 
Then comes, higher still, I think, in the scale, 
the faculty that interests man in the human 
interests that surround him. On the intel- 
lectual side this faculty enables him to grasp 
by mental acts the shifting panorama of his- 
tory and the poetry and passion of life, and 
on the moral side it gives him sympathy and 
gumption, and the desire to act justly, cha- 
ritably, and purely — with the practical wish 
to do all the good he can in all the ways 
he can to all the people he can. 

Besides this conscious feeling of having 
blundered, and the wholesome humility such 
a feeling should inspire, there will ensue on 
any such retrospect the feeling that there 
have been great Huming-points in life.' Some 
of^hese blunders will certainly be connected 
with some of these turning-points, and some 
of these turning-points will connect them- 
selves with the very reverse of blunders, that 
is, with what has been best and worthiest in 


our imperfect lives. But many of them will 
be odd, strange, inexplicable. After elimi- 
nating all that can be explained as the legi- 
timate results of certain practical lines of 
conduct, it is still remarkable how large a 
realm in human life is occupied by what is 
simply and absolutely fortuitous. And this 
presence of chance cannot really be a matter 
of chance. So far from that, it is, I believe, 
part of the constitution 6i things under which 
we live. Just as we live in an order of na- 
ture, where the seasons succeed each other, 
not in mere arithmetical order, but in all 
sweet variety, so events do not succeed each 
other according to a clearly-defined system of 
causation, but with a liability to the constant 
recurrence of what is accidental and fortui- 
tous. Probably all the phenomena of human 
life, as of nature, are referable to law; but 
ptill it would be wearisome work to us, consti- 
tuted as we are, to watch all the unvaried 
sequences of order. Instead of* that we only 
dimly see the vague skirts, the vast shadowy 
forms of such laws, and most things below 
the skies remain as uncertain, uncertified. 


transitory as the skies themselves. And this 
weird, fortuitous realm is doubtless ordered 
for the best, and is no mystery to the great 
Lawgiver, although His laws are inexplicable 
to us, and are to us as confused as the rush 
and roar of compUcated machinery when first 
from the sweet south we enter the grim 
establishments of those masterful northern 

As I have been speaking of the fortuitous, 
let us mark off clearly a set of cases pecu- 
liarly likely to be coufounded with it. A 
man finds a watch upon the ground. This 
was Paley's famous illustration, which has a 
regular pedigree in the history of literature. 
To employ this used-up teleologic^l watch 
once more, it is by no means a fortuitous 
event, whether the man seeks to restore the 
watch to its owner or forthwith appropriates 
the same. To one man the watch will be an 
overmastering temptation, and he will pocket 
it ; to another the watch will be destitute of 
the least power of exciting temptation, and 
he would immediately deposit it with the 
town crier. The result, in either case, i§ 


simply the result of a man's disposition, cha- 
racter, and antecedent history. The same 
sort of thing happens under much more diffi- 
cult and complicated circumstances. A man 
makes a certain decision, and in after-life he 
is spoken of as having made such a very wise 
or unwise decision; or it is said that in a 
certain emergency he acted with such vigour, 
or promptness, or justness, or the reverse. 
Now what I wish to deny altogether is the 
apparently fortuitous character of such trans- 
actions. The whole previous life, so to speak, 
had been a preparation for that particular 
minute of momentous action. It was a sum, 
duly cast up, giving the result in particular 
figures. The practical force of these con- 
siderations is evident. A man is dismissed 
his ship for drunkenness. It seems a sharp 
penalty. Tes, but the intoxication was not a 
fortuitous event. There must have been a 
crescendo series of ungentlemanly acts culmi- 
nating in this punishable misdemeanour. A 
woman runs away with her groom ; but what 
a progressive debasement of heart and mind 
there must have been before all culture and 


■ " I ■ ■ _ ■ ■ I ■ I ■ Mill !■ ■ ^ ■ !■! ■ I I ■ ■ ■!■■■■■ ■ 1^ ■ — Ma^^^M — 

gentle associations are forgotten ! A man is 
convicted of a criminal offence at the bar of 
some tribunal. There are a crowd of wit- 
nesses to character. He has not a witness 
who would have thought him capable of such 
an act. Yet his mind had been familiarised 
with such acts, and probably his practice with 
acts only just evading the character of trans- 
gression against positive law. It often hap- 
pens, also, that extenuating circumstances are, 
in truth, aggravating circumstances. And this 
.may suggest a consideration on the character 
of scruples. Bishop Temple has a sermon 
on the subject, and when I read it — and also 
when I heard it preached by one of his ad- 
mirers as his own — I thought the treatment 
very unsatisfactory. Scruples are often te- 
dious, tiresome things, mere matters of anise 
and cummin. And yet, though their absolute 
importance may be little, to some minds their 
relative importance is very great. Scruples 
are often the advanced outposts of conscience. 
Sometimes they are outposts which command 
the citadel. When the outposts fall, one by 
one, there is oft^ no use at all in defeuding 


the city. The lines are drawn round it and 
it must fall. Which things are an allegory* 
As consequents have their antecedents, so 
apparently fortuitous acts have their anterior 

When, therefore, I speak of tuming-pointii 
in life I mean, first, those events which un- 
doubtedly have a fortuitous character, though 
this is perhaps more apparent than real ; and 
next, those events which, though they may 
seem fortuitous, are distinctly nothing of the 
sort ; and thirdly, those stages and crises in 
individual history when a man, nolens volens^ 
is obliged to take his line, and when not to 
take a line is the most distinct line of all, 
i.e.^ whether a man will get married, or take 
to a profession, or practically decides that he 
will not marry and will not take to a pro- 
fession. In human history, from time to 
time, these turning-points emerge. Men tell 
us so, and we see it. We all know how 
Shakespeare says that there is a tide in the 
affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, 
leads on to fortune. That turning of the 
tide is frequently dramatic or even ti'agic 


enough. So we have heard of persons cut 
off by the tide and left stranded on some rock 
out at sea. The hungry, crawling foam 
reaches the feet, the knees, the loins, the 
breast, the lips. There is the death-agony 
of apprehension. Then suddenly the water 
recedes. It is the turn of the tide. The 
romance is told of such unlooked-for safety, 
but those erect no tablets who perish. We 
sometimes see something analogous to this in 
life. Once nothing succeeded, but now every- 
thing turns to gold. Once they drew all 
blanks, now the prizes are all before them. 
As the Yankee parson said, ' So mote it be.' 

Sometimes circumstances purely fortuitous 
have coloured and influenced a whole life- 
time. I have met with two instances of this 
in my recent reading. The other day I was 
within a magnificent library — a library that 
belonged to one of the greatest scholars that 
England has ever known. I took down a 
tall thick folio, bound in vellum — such books 
with such coverings its owner loved— and 
opened the volume of Justin Martyr which 
contained the dialogue with Trypho. I read 


that remarkable passage in which Justin re- 
counts to his chance companions the truest 
and strangest of all passages of his history. 
One day he had been musing on the 
seashore when he was accosted by an aged 
and benevolent stranger who ventured to 
ask him the nature of his meditations. 
Justin explained to him "how he was 
inusmg on the philosophers ; but his new- 
found companion asked him whether he 
knew aught about the prophets. Theii en- 
sued the conversation which determined the 
tenour and complexion of all Justin's future 
^life. Perhaps some of us may have had such 
rare seasons of converse with gifted minds, 
which have been as an o'pen sesame^ to open 
up whole realms of thought and truth which 
otherwise might have eluded our sphere of 
observation. I noticed the other instance 
in Mrs. Gordon's interesting little book re- 
specting her illustrious father, Sir David 
• Brewster. On the very threshold of his 
great scientilBic researches his sight began 
to fi^il him. He had every reason to fear 
that his eyes must go ; and in his case most 

14 Turning-points in life. 

earthly good would have failed with his fail- 
ing: vision. Then some one told him that, 
for such cases, the great surgeon, Sir Ben- 
jamin Brodie, recommended a particular pre- 
scription. It was a very simple one, common 
snuff being the chief ingredient. He took 
it, and was completely cured. Years after 
Sir David met Sir Benjamin ; but Sir Benja- 
min was surprised at the matter, and said 
the prescription was none of his. 

Now let us take some illustrations from 
life ; and truly that was a true saying, that 
though alignments are pillars, yet illustrations 
are the windows that let in the light. 

There is no doubt but the moment in 
which, at a family conclave, there is a choice 
of school or college is a very important 
turning-point of life. It is remarkable on 
how slight a hinge the choice turns — what 
a^ slight impulse settles the question. Unfor- 
tunately the matter is often settled the wrong 
way. There are some boys for whom the 
public school is the very thing. It is espe- 
cially the thing for those boys who are adapted 
by nature for our English public life. It de- 


velops the mind ; it forms the manners; it 
carries the boy successfully on in his work; 
it surrounds him with friends who often form 
a phalanx around him on whose shoulders he 
is carried onward to prosperity and eminence* 
But, on the other hand, there are boys who 
are peculiarly fitted for home education, or 
the gentlest training abroad. They have deli- 
cate flowers of character and feeling which 
would blossom in the shade, but are withered 
in the glare of sunshine. Cowper's misery 
at Westminster has been often reproduced 
in his sensitiveness, if not in his genius^ I 
have a hearty love of Eton and Etonians. But 
take some obtuse youth of eighteen, who haa 
never received the individual separate atten- 
tion which he has required — ^who has been 
slowly shuflEled through class after class with- 
out attaining to its level of attainnient — on 
whom the distinctive advantages of the place 
have been almost altogether thrown away, 
and he has gained, I grant you, good man- 
ners — ^that is the never-failing acquisition 
which Eton always gives her sons — but 
otherwise the early years of his life have 


been almost irretrievably wasted. He is just 
the sort of man on whom careful patient 
training would have wrought everything that 
could be wrought on a poor limited nature; 
but now if he can get into the army or 
smuggled into a family living, it is the only 
use to which he is susceptible of being put. 

Similarly ias to college. A man goes to 
a certain college because his father was there 
before him, or because his uncle had a fellow- 
ship there, or because some paltry scholarship 
is attached to his native county. But a know- 
ing Cambridge tutor would say, * That is just 
the man for Trinity,' or a knowing Oxford 
tutor, * That is just the man for Christ Church, 
or just the man for Balliol.' Why should 
you send a hard-reading man to Exeter or 
an indolent, dressy man to BalUol? Why 
should a gentleman be sent to the drinking, 
smoking set of a * fast,' which means a slow 
college? gnd why should not some wavering 
natures be developed into something better 
by the best collegiate influences? All over 
the world the square peg goes into the round 
hole and vice versd. There is something very 


odd about men at small colleges, but as the 
Trinity man said, according to Mr. Leslie 
Stephen, * They, too, are God's creatures.' A 
man will go to his little college, where you 
might live in a university town for a dozen 
years without knowing it, and like it, and stand 
up for it, and consider it the epitome of the 
world, as some Oxonians stand up for Christ 
Church or Balliol, and Cantabs for Trinity 
and St. John's. 

Let us now look at some instances of * turn- 
ing-points' in our social life around us. In 
professional life we often find anecdotes 
of success that are very good, and, what 
cannot always be said of good stories, very 
well guaranteed. There was a London curate 
sitting one day in his vestry, very much after 
the manner of his order. These London 
curates are sometimes a sort of reheving 
officers. They often sit an hour a day in 
the vestry, distributing dispensary tickets or 
orders for soup and flannel, or writing down 
the names of poor people who may be 
in some dire distress and on whom they 
intend to call. If you want to have a five 

VOL. I. 


minutes' chat with this sort of parson you 
know when and where to find him. There 
came a tap at a certain vestry door, and the 
curate shouted his * come in/ with full belief 
that there was another Irish pauper. A gen- 
tleman came in, who asked after the aris- 
tocratic and well-known rector. The curate 
explained that his rector was out of town, 
but that he himself would be very pleased 
to do an3^hing he could for him. The 
gentleman hummed and hesitated, but at 
last explained his business. It so hap- 
pened that he was the patron of a valuable 
living which had just fallen in, and knowing 
nothing about clergymen, he had called to 
ask the rector whether he knew any one on 
whom the presentation would be fittingly be- 
stowjed. The curate was no fool. A turning- 
point had come. He saw he had a chance, 
and he took it. He said there was an indi- 
vidual, whom modesty prevented him from 
naming, who was admirably qualified for a 
good living. The ingenuous shamefacedness 
was overcome, and the curate gave ample 
evidence that he had worked long and ardu- 


ously. He dropped into a very good living, 
rather to the disgust of the rector, who would 
have liked better to have given it to some 
of his own belongings. I remember another 
lucky hit. It was that of a clergyman meet* 
ing with a Lord Chancellor. The Chancellor 
was not Lord Hatherley, but it was a pre- 
decessor of his in no very remote degree. 
The parson — ^he was a tutor at one of the 
Oxford colleges — was a very early riser, and 
so was the Lord Chancellor. It so happened 
that they were visiting together at the same 
country-house. They met one fresh early 
morning in the library when all the rest of 
the world was drowned in sleep. This simi- 
larity led to a long conversation, in which 
other similarities of taste and feeling were 
developed. The result was that the Lord 
Chancellor gave him a capital living. There 
IS a great difference among Lord Chancellors. 
Such a Chancellor as Lord Westbury did 
not care for his small Church patronage, and 
brought in a Bill which enabled him to get 
rid of it. Other Chancellors, however, are 
truly * grasping ' about it, if one may use that 

c 2 


unpleasant term. The &ct is, Chancellors 
ought not to be allowed to hold ecclesiastical 
patronage. Livings are not the proper prizes 
to be given away in recollection of electioneer- 
ing contests or sharp legal businesses. 

The readers of those somewhat mendacious 
volumes, Lord Campbeirs * Lives of the Lord 
Chancellors,' will recollect the sudden, un- 
expected turns by which great lawyers have 
trod to feme and fortune. I often think of 
a great advocate, rising up to take advantage 
of his first chance; and feeling as if his 
wife and children were tugging at his robe 
and exhorting him to do his best. Then 
nearly every doctor in good practice has his 
story of days when he had no practice at all, 
and of the lucky incidents which brought 
him into the notice which he deserved. Much 
may be said of various other pursuits in life. 
I once knew a man who got into Parliament 
through the simple accident . of meeting a 
man on the steps of the Carlton Club. This 
man said that he was going to try for a 
borough on the great Buff interest, and he 
wanted another man, a Buff, like himself, 


but a better talker, to try along with him, 
and he would stand all the expenses. The 
two Buffs were duly returned. If you 
believe Dr. Johnson's definition of genius — 
I don't — ^that it is great natural ability acci- 
dentally turned into a particular direction, 
then every career of great intellectual emi- 
nence has been accidentally determined by the 
stress of some turning-point in life. A lucky 
incident determined the career of that great 
prelate and acute thinker. Bishop Herbert 
Marsh. If you don't know much about 
Bishop Marsh, just turn to that volume of 
the British Museum library where his works 
are enrolled ; or, better still, in that learned 
mass of annotation with which Mr. Mayor 
has supplemented the publication of the Baker 
MS. on St. John's College. Herbert Marsh 
wrote German with the force and facility 
of a native. He published in that language, 
in 1800, * The History of the Politics of Great 
Britain and France . . . containing a Nar- 
rative of the attempt made by the British 
Government to restore peace.' This history 
was based on authentic documents, which 


showed that the French, and not the British, 
were the authors of the war. Its publication 
did our country a signal service at the time. 
You will stiU find maiiy ignorant writers 
who insist that Pitt's glorious continental 
wars were quite a mistake, and altogether 
unnecessary. I would only advise them to 
go to their books and study the materials 
of authentic history. Pitt sent for Marsh, 
and gave him some five himdred a year until 
he should give him a bishopric. Another 
illustrious Englishman owed his fortune to 
that evil genius of Europe, Napoleon. When 
that monster of selfishness^ and cruelty was 
caged in the * Bellerophon/ and the vessel 
lay in Plymouth Sound, at the latter end of 
that memorable July — oh, what a midsummer 
was that for our England ! — a young painter 
took boat day by day, and hovered about 
the vessel for every glimpse of the captive. 
Every evening, about six. Napoleon used to 
appear on the gangway and make his bow 
to the thousands who came out to see him. 
There is some reason to believe that Napo- 
leon divined, and approved of the artist's 


intention. So, Charles Eastlake made a good 
portrait, and jfrom it constructed a large 
painting of the Emperor, for which the gen- 
tlemen of Plymouth gave him a thousand 
pounds, and sent him to Rome, and made the 
fortune of the future President of the Royal 

Marriage is unquestionably as decided a 
turning-point in human destiny as can be. It 
is, however, a turning-point which, lea&t of 
all, should be left to mere blind chance. Yet 
mere blind chance often rules the result* 
Everybody now recollects how Lord Byron 
staked on a toss up whether he should make 
his offer to Miss Milbanke or not. Mr. Grant 
asserts that there is an English duke now 
living, who wrote the following letter, when 
marquis, to a friend with whom he had agreed 
to inspect some carriages in Long Acre : * " It 
will not be necessary to meet me to-morrow, to 
go to Long Acre to look for a carriage. From 
a remark made by the duke [his father] to- 
daj^, I fancy I am going to be married." Not 
only had the marquis left his father to choose 
a bride for him and to make the other neces- 



sajy matrimonial arrangements, but when the 
intimation was made to him by the duke that 
the future marchioness had been fixed on^ he 
seemed to view the whole affair as if it had 
been one which did not concern him in the 
least/ I should hope that sensible men do 
not often leave the choice of a wife to be de- 
termined in this indeterminate way. Nor yet, 
I hope, for the matter of that, the choice of a 
profession — ^more especially if that profession 
is the Church. I see that a set of gentlemen 
are now trying, vehemently, to release them- 
selves from the shackles of their ordination 
vows, and to a certain extent have done so. 
They say, in effect, that they were young ; 
that they were inexperienced ; that they have 
seen what they have liked better ; that they 
ought to have the liberty of another choice. I 
offer no opinion on this reasoning. But it is 
worth while to point out that every one of 
these considerations would equally apply to a 
claim to be released from marriage. Milton 
set forth the whole claim in his ' Tetrachordon.' 
Yet this is a length to which any Legislature 
would decline to go. 


Every now and then, in history, or in the 
history of Kterature and science, we find some 
strikmg historical instance of turning-points 
in life. On such ground we see how a scandal 
about a bracelet, or the prohibition of a 
banquet, wrought a revolution, and precis 
pitated a dynasty. Look at literary or scien- 
tific biography. Think of Crabbe's timorously 
calling on Edmund Burke, and inducing him 
to look at his poetry. I have no doubt but 
Burke was very busy. But with lightning 
glance he looked over the lines, and satisfied 
himself that real genius was there. When 
Crabbe left the statesman, he was a made man. 
Burke, ev^r generous and enlightened, had 
made up his mind to take care of him. Or 
look at Faraday. He was only a poor book- 
seller's poor boy, working hard and honestly, 
but disliking his employment and inspired 
with a pure thirst for knowledge. He had 
managed, somdbow or other, to hear the great 
chemist, Humphry Davy, at the Royal Insti- 
tution ; and, with- trembling solicitude, he 
sends him a fair copy of the notes which he 
had made of his lectures. The result is that 


Michael Faraday receives an appointment at 
the Royal Institution, and lays the foundation 
of his splendid and beneficent career. Look- 
ing back to the past, that was a great moment 
in the life of Columbus, when, resting on a 
sultry day beneath the fiei'ce Spanish sun, he 
asked for a drink of cold water at a convent- 
door. The prior entered mto a conversation 
with him, and— struck by his appearance, and 
afterwards by the magnificent simplicity of 
his ideas — gave him the introductions he so 
sorely needed ; and thus Columbus gave to 
Castile and Aragon a new world. 

And greater than any merely national event 
of outward honour and importauce, a more 
wondrous turning-point in life is that when 
some great thought, some great discovery has 
first loomed distinctly before the mind. One 
of Mr, Hugh Macmillan's admirable works 
reminds us of such a ' moment.' Seventeen 
years ago, late one afternoon, a hunter, led by 
the chase, came to a secluded spot in a forest 
on a slope, four thousand feet high, of the 
range of the Sierra Nevada. There, to his 
astonishment, he beheld vast dark-red trunks 


of trees rising for three or foiir hundred feet 
in the air, dwarfing all the surrounding forest, 
whose tops were still aglow in the sunset 
when darkness had fallen on all meaner 
growths. Thus was discovered the WeUing- 
toriea gigdntea of California, the most splendid 
addition of this generation to natural history.^ 
You may walk, you may even ride on horse- 
back through the trunk of a fallen tree. Those 
^live are between two and three thousand 
years old, and those prostrate may have lain 
for thousands of years and have been thousands 
of years old when they fell. The huntsman 
*who first beheld them hastened away, as one 
enchanted, to tell the marvellous story, and 
was not believed until repeated visits and 
^leasurements had been made. There is an 
•eminent American writer who considers that 
±here are two moments which stand pre-emi- 
-jient in the intellectual history of our race. 
.One of them was when Galileo for the first 

^ The Americans don't like their great tree being called 
the Wellingtonea, and so they call it. the Washingtonea^ 
arborists now give it the purely Scientific appellation of 
-fSequoia gigantea. 


time looked through the first telescope, and 
the phases of A^enus and the moons of Jupiter 
whispered to him the idea of myriad space 
peopled with myriads of worlds like our own* 
A second such * moment ' was, when a large 
quantity of fossil bones and shells was placed 
before the aged Buffon for inspection. To his 
amazement he found that these remains cor- 
responded with no known remains of living 
creatures of the earth. In a moment there 
came before the old man's mind the vast idea 
of infinite time, peopled with other creations 
than our own. * Filled with awe, the old 
man, then over eighty years of age, published 
his discovery. In a kind of sacred frenzy, he 
spoke of the magnificence of the prospect, and 
prophesied of the future glories of the new 
science, which he was, alas ! too old to pursue.' 
Only the other day we had a splendid scien- 
tific generalisation, which Mr. Charles Kingsley 
thinks will work a new era in bio-geology. Dn 
Carpenter in his 'Report of the Dredging 
Operations of the "Lightning,''' says that 
* The globeigerina mud is not merely a chalk 
formation, but a continuation of the chalk for- 


mation ; so that we may be said to he sHU 
living in the age of chalk.^ Yes, layer by layer, 
the live atomies are laying the floorings of a 
new continent, which we shall not see. It is 
a sublime thought. Perhaps still more in- 
teresting are his discoveries of abundance of 
active life far down in depths where all the 
philosophers had considered that life was im- 
possible, thus checking the seemingly most 
final and authoritative decisions of science. 
Well, the philosopher may take a lesson, may 
take to heart the first and humblest lesson of 
science, to look on all opinions as in solution, 
all hypotheses as tentative ; and if some of our 
scientific luminaries become a little more 
modest and a little less dogmatic, it wiU be a 
wonderful era in their own lives and a special 
blessing to the meetings of the British Associ- 

Then a<5cidents are turning-points, which 
may bring you to a sudden pause — ^to a dead 
wall. There are many accidents, fatal acci- 
dents, which, humanly speaking, might be 
ayoided by taking things quietly. For in- 
stance, I almost wish we had a statistical ac* 


count of the number of people who have 
dropped down dead through running to catch 
the train. I saw in a provincial paper the other 
day a very queer account of a man attending 
his own inquest ! A coroner's jury had been 
summoned to hold an inquiry respecting the 
end of some deceased person. One of the- 
jurymen so summoned was rather late. He 
and his fellow-jurors were to meet at a public^ 
house. From the door of the hostel they 
watched him hastening very fast and presently 
running. Suddenly he dropped. They hast- 
ened to him, but found that life was altogether 
extinct. The coroner, a shrewd, busy man, 
suggested that as they were all there it would 
be as well if they empanelled another jury- 
man, and held both inquests at the same sitting. 
This was done ; and within an hour or two of 
the poor fellow's proceeding to attend the in- 
quest, an inquest was held upon himself. 

Then as to the morality of our theme. It 
was an old Greek Sophist, Prodicus by name, 
one of a body whom we think, despite Mr. 
Grote, to be justly enough abused, who gave 
us— Xenophon tells the story — ^that beautiful 


fable of the Choice of Hercules, which has been 
repeated in many forms, and in many lan- 
guages. It has been beautifully reproduced 
by Mr. Tennyson, when lone (Enone tells 
^ many-fountained Ida * of the choice of Paris, 
when he turned away from Athene with her 
wisdom to Aphrodite with her love. Pytha- 
goras took the letter Y as the symbol of hu- 
man life *. 

* Et tibi, qiMB Samios diduxit litera ramos.' — ^Persius. 

The stem of the letter denoted that part of 
human life during which character is still un- 
formed ; the right-hand branch, the finer of 
the two, represents the path of virtue, the 
other that of vice. As one of the commenta- 
tors says, ' The fancy took mightily with the 
ancients.'- There is a clearly defined turning- 
point in life for you ! Of such turning-points as 
I have here lightly touched upon, I shall in my 
other pages endeavour to give some sort of 
rationale. My thesis is that most of them are 
to be eliminated from the catalogue of the con- 
tingent and the accidental, as being the legiti- 
mate efiect and product of character; and, 


next, admitting the existence of what is for- 
tuitous, I argue that the presence of chance 
is not a matter of chance, but designed by the 
great Artist who builds up individual life, and 
weaves it into the common warp and woof of 
all human life around us. 

Once more, to quote some words of the late 
Dean Alford's, novissima verba as they proved. 
' There are moments that are worth more than 
years. We cannot help it : there is no pro- 
portion between spaces of time in importance 
nor in value. A sick man may have the un- 
wearied attendance of his physician for weeks, 
and then may perish in a minute because he 
is not by. A stray im-thought-of five minutes 
may contain the event of a life. And this all- 
important moment, this moment dispropor- 
tionate to all other moments, who can tell 
when it will be upon us ? What a lesson to 
have our resources for meeting it available 
and at hand ! ' 




Whe^ we speak of turning-points in life, pro- 
bably the first notion suggested is that of some- 
thing merely fortuitous and accidental ; some 
port of sparkling incident which is the pivot of 
a romance. There are such incidents certainly ; 
one should neither deny their existence nor 
exaggerate their importance. But of such in- 
cidents habit makes the most essential part. 
Given the most &vourable set of circumstances, 
they are really nothing unless there is a dis- 
position estabUshed, a training accomplished, 
which will enable you to turn them to account. 
Youth, that loves adventure, always looks 
forward with eager interest to opening the 
great campaign of life in London. There is a 
sense in which the streets are paved with gold 

VOL. I. D 


or even with costlier things. As the Laureate 

Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years 

would yield, 
Eager-hearted as a boy when first he leaves his Other's 

And at night along the dusky highway, near and nearer 

Sees in heaven the light of London flaring like a dreary 

And his spirit leaps within him to be gone before him 
• then ; 
Underneath the light he looks at, in among the throngs of 


In London, indeed, more than anjrwhere else, 
habit is the groundwork on which all the che* 
quered incidents of life are displayed. 

For example, take the stock incident of the 
feeble novelist. A young lady's horse runs 
away with her. It is in danger of leaping a 
cliif or of rushing down the line whUe the ex- 
press rushes after it. Such an incident would 
be obviously thrown away upon a hero who 
was not used to horses, and who had not ac- 
quired a steady eye and hand, and habits of 
coolness and courage. There is a. noble house 
which traces back all its prosperous fortunes 


to the incident of a 'prentice lad plunging into 
the Thames to recover his fair young mistress. 
He married her and became partner in the 
busiaess of his master. There must at least 
have been a useful habit of swimming before he 
could plunge into the river. And unless there 
were those good habits which the merchants 
of London so highly prize, he would not have 
gone into the business, or if he had gone would 
have done nothing at it. 

It is very interesting to read of a great 
advocate waiting patiently for his chance. It 
comes at last, and he fancied that wife and 
children were tugging at his robe and ex- 
horting him for their sakes to do his best. 
Then the full, brilliant speech is made. Or 
hear the famous argument of plain John Scott, 
afterwards Lord Eldon, in the leading case of 
* Akroyd v. Smithson.* An attorney whispers 
the homely, but heart-cheering words, ' Young 
man, your bread and butter is made,' and, in- 
deed, the young man has started straight and 
fair for the Great Seal. 

Such incidents do not happen so very un-> 
frequently after all. The man and the hour 



approach. The man is equal to the occasion; 
but often, perhaps oftener, the man is unequal 
to it. What would have been the use of the 
chance coming to men who are unequal to 
the chance? There are hamsters who, if such 
a chance came to them, would simply have to 
sit down and tell the sitting judge, truly 
enough, that they could not get on without 
their leader. The lawyer who rises to con- 
duct a diflSicult case in his leader's absence, 
the surgeon or doctor that has a sudden chance 
presented to him, must have had a long pre- 
paratory training before he could skilfully 
avail himself of any sort of emergency. These 
are occasions for the exhibition of ability, and 
are powerless to create the ability itself. So 
even in what appear to be fortuitous events the 
element of chance does not very much pre- 
vail. Good men, by a natural gravitation, 
come to the front, and accident, or want of 
accident, only temporarily retards or repels 

So when a man looks forward to his 
chances in life, his great business is to pre- 
pare himself for those chances. 


^-W^^MB I _ ■ ■ I ■ _ 

Now habit is the subtlest and strongest of 
all agencies. It is a second nature, or rather 
the mould into which nature is thrown. All 
the foundation of character must be laid in 
the very earliest days. It is almost awful 
to think at how early an age, humanly speak- 
ing, the destinies of young children are 
shaped and framed by their habits ; how their 
future is in their own hands ; how, in Words- 
worth's phrase, the boy is father to the man. 
I believe some American author holds that 
habits are formed by the age of twelve — a 
curious iieory, which has nevertheless a basis 
of truth. 

Childhood is the secret laboratory where 
all manner of hidden processes are being 
evolved for development and perfection here- 
after. In Eobert Browning's fine poem of 
*' Lazarus,' the intense importance of the 
actions of the young is shadowed forth. La- 
zarus restored from the dead can view his 
child in illness or danger, being altogether 
unperturbed. But he is in a very agony of 
sorrow and alarm if he notices any outburst 
of sin or selfishness. There is a very in- 


Rtructive lesson for the young to be learned 
from the Memoirs of Hugh Miller. I remem- 
ber, many years ago, hearing an account of 
a gentleman who, journeying in a steamer, 
saw an unwonted degree of attention be- 
stowed on a mason who was sitting on the 
right hand of the captain, and in whose 
favour other people seemed slighted. When 
he learned that it was Hugh Miller, and who 
Hugh Miller was, he perfectly acquiesced in 
the arrangement. But Hugh Miller never 
had any business to be a stonemason. When 
he was a child he obstinately refused to 
learn, and played truant for weeks together. 
He became a distinguished man, not by 
reason of being a stonemason, but in spite 
of it. We are told that during his hard 
work in the quarry and under the shed, his 
robust constitution was shaken, and the seeds 
of ineradicable disease were sown in his 
frame. He himself says that the obscurity 
and hardship of his working life were a ' pun- 
ishment for his early carelessness.' Perhaps 
the dark catastrophe which terminated his 
Jife might be traced to the foolishness of his 


boyhood. His biographer, Mr. Bayne, truly 
remarks : ' To check the lawlessness natural 
to man, to break self-will to the yoke, to 
change the faculties from a confused bar- 
barian herd or horde {heer of the old German 
tribes) into a disciplined or exercised com- 
pany {exercitics of the Eomans) must ever be 
an essential part of the training of youth. 
Educated human nature is more natural than 

Look back on those old school days— days 
as potent in their influence as in their asso- 
ciations and recollections. There is no point 
that requires nicer discrimination than the 
line of early life to be marked out for a boy: 
whether, for instance, he should go to a public 
fichool or only to a small school, or should be 
brought up at home. I believe that the 
masters of our great public schools can discern 
much more clearly than parents how certain 
boys ought to be held disqualified for public 
school life, although it is by no means very 
<5lear on the surface why this should be the 
case. There is the boy of weak health, who 
is quite unfitted to rough it, even under 


the improved condition of things at public 
schools. We cannot, as was done in Spartan 
days, subject all to the same conditions, and 
let the strong live and the weak die. Again, 
there is the boy who is morally weak, who 
has little bone or sinew in his character, 
easily led, unable to resist temptation, almost 
inviting outrage and oppression. Once more, 
there is the dull boy, always gravitating to 
the bottom of his class, who in a mechanical 
way is pushed through the routine of a school 
without ever mastering any real knowledge. 
A clever boy gets on well at a public school, 
and receives every care and encouragement, 
while the stupid boy ordinarily goes to the 
wall. Schoolmasters do not even yet suffi- 
ciently realise the fact that the true test of 
the excellence of a school is not so much the 
turning out of some brilliant scholars as 
maintaining a high general average. 

There are no days more important than 
school days. Then the strongest habits are 
fixed. Then the firmest friendships are con- 
tracted. The permanent character of a man 
is perhaps more truly shadowed forth in 



school days' than in college days. In later 
life a man is much more like what he was 
at school than what he was at college. Then 
line upon line, precept upon precept, here a 
little, there a little, becomes the rule of life. 

I remember very well my first view of 
Liverpool across the Mersey. From the green 
country side across the broad tidal river I 
looked upon the magnificent great town which 
has arisen upon the marshes over which 
the lorn liver once croaked and flew. Far 
up in the sky appeared a cloud, like a dense 
pall — a cloud of smoke and fog — all the live- 
long day overspreading the heavens. Of 
course this would belong also to London and 
all great towns, but I was never more struck 
with it than those many years ago at Liver- 
pool. When I journeyed about the great 
town, moved about the streets and docks and 
fiaUs of Liverpool, the consciousness of the 
pall in which we were wrapped wore off; 
after a fashion we felt the sun and the 
breezes, and now in the populous city pent 
we thought little how fi:om the green river- 
side the aspect of the big town had seemed 


SO cloudy and unwholesome. Even so from 
the green riverside of childhood we look for- 
ward with eager expectation to the crowded 
thoroughfares of life; we detect in those 
early generous days the gloom and worldli- 
ness of things, but unconsciously we pass 
into the cloud, and the pall is over us as 
over others. Ah, happy those who on the 
lawns and uplands lay in fresh stores of 
vigour and health, who can at times seek 
once more for the freshness of those fields 
and streams, and can look forwards to renew 
in age the Elysium of youth — in the happiest 
sense, the second childhood, which has the 
love most free from fear, the obedience most 
removed from restraint ! 

The law of habit is that general habits 
are formed by particular acts. I have seen 
a mighty river, on whose bo8om a whole navy 
might repose, at its well-head on the moors. 
You might then easily step across the infant 
stream. So that irresistible force of habit 
which, when ingrained, gains an indomiteble 
power, is at the commencement a force easily 
capable of being measured and guided. The 


habit is created by the repetition of innu- 
merable Uttle acts. The object and the main 
anxiety of life must be to watch and direct 
aright this great motive force of life. It is 
said in the words of Infinite Truth that he 
who despises small things shall perish by 
little and little. We are told that line must 
be upon line, precept upon precept, here a 
little, there a little. So too we are told that 
he who is faithful in that which is greatest 
is also faithfiil in that which is least. 

As we stand in some vast manufactory in 
the north, we perhaps wonder, amid the whir- 
ring of wheels and the clang of machinery, 
at the ease and adroitness with which even 
young children can perform their allotted 
part. They nimbly move with the wheels, 
and deftly handle the threads. It is easy to 
notice the readiness and unconsciousness with 
which they get through their work. Now 
this is in accordance with the second nature 
of habit. This is in exact accordance with 
the laws of habit. We acquire a habit, and 
even forget how we acquired it. The more 
perfectly we have acquired a habit, the more 


unconsciously we obey it. And it is easy to 
see in the nature of things why this should 
be the case. If we had to deliberate on 
each action, the day would not suffice for its 
duties. So it is that habit supplies prompt- 
ness and celerity. We could not inform 
each detail of conduct with its philosophy, 
reason out each act as it occurs. Never- 
theless, where the habit is fixed on solid 
ground, we ought to be able to analyse the 
act, to refer the act to the habit, and the 
habit to the law. As Dean Howson says, 
' There is a blessedness for those who have 
leamt the unconscious habit of joyous obe- 
dience; who serve God without effi)rt and 
without reluctance ; who rise, as the sun 
rises, to travel the appointed journey, and 
who sleep as those who have been guided all 
day long in the way of peace.' 

If we endeavoured to carry out the motto 
approfondissez^ get to the bottom of the sub- 
ject, the consideration of habits would lead 
us into a curious vein of inquiry. Nearly 
all the philosophers have had their discussions 
on * habits.' They define, habit as a facility 


in doing a thing and an inclination to do it. 
Habits may be formed not only by acts, but 
by refraining from acts. Indolence is a habit 
formed by neglecting to do what ought to 
be done. Voluntary acts become involuntary, 
cases of volitional acts pass into automatic. 
Aristotle points out that there is positive pain 
in resisting a formed habit. The moralists 
discuss habits objectively^ - as generic and 
specific ; and subjectively^ as active and 
passive. With a little puzzling out, the 
reader will find out easily the meaning of the 
classification. Then they are very anxious to 
guard against the mischievous delusion that 
the power of evil habit is giving way when 
they are not doing anything which, in accord- 
ance with the law of habit, would strengthen it. 
Probably there is only a pause of exhaustion 
or repletion, or the removal of the means 
of gratifying them, or the exchange of one 
bad habit for a cognate one. They have also 
discussed whether habit is limited to living 
beings. Is not the acclimatisation of plants a 
resemblance of habit? Do we not see the 
same thing in the docility of animals, which, 



according to modem teaching, are removed 
from us only by so light and variable a line. 
The connection between habit and instinct, 
and the connection between habit and asso^ 
ciation, are very interesting and important 
questions. Another very important question 
is, how far we are influenced by the habits 
of our forefathers, or may influence the habits 
of our descendants. It is a very important 
consideration how far by our own habits we 
may be afiecting other moral and physical life. 
This subject is called Atavism. There are, for 
instance, various orders of disease which in fifty 
per cent, of the cases are of an inherited cha- 
racter. And what is Atavism ? perhaps you 
ask. Briefly it may be answered that Atavism 
is a tendency on the part of ofispring to revert 
to some more or less remote ancestral type. 
The subject belongs to that great general sub- 
ject of inheritance on which Mr. Darwin has 
written so much, and on which other writers 
in following him have had so much to say. 
In his work on ' Animals and Plants under 
Domestication' there are an immense number 
of instances of reversion. Mr. Darwin takes 


his instances from pansies and roses, from 
silkworms, from hybrids, from pigs and 
pigeons, from men and dogs. Let us look 
at the nobler human subject. Mr. Darwin 
speaks of the strong likeness through the 
line of the Austrian emperors, and quotes 
Niebuhr's remarks on the old Roman fami- 
lies. There are some curious medical facts 
relating to the subject. Thus, in cases of 
hereditary illness, children will faU ill about 
the same age as their fathers did; Mr, Paget, 
in nine cases out of ten, says it will be a 
little earlier. These are very unpleasant 
fiicts in relation to Atavism, It is all very 
well that one should recall the features of an 
illustrious ancestor. When Lord Shaftesr 
bury stood lately at an exhibition below the 
portrait of his ancestor the likeness was most 
remarkable; he might have stepped down 
from the canvas. There used to be a man 
about London who was supposed to be a lineal 
descendant of James the Second, and who cer- 
tainly looked much more like a cavalier of the 
seventeenth century than belonging to these 
modem days. Moreover, Mr. Galton in his 


well-known book has shown us how clever- 
ness is inherited, and that it is the tendency 
of genius to reappeari This is the agreeable 
side of Atavism. We have mentioned the 
other side indicated by sagacious medical 
theory, that the physician should look closely 
to the child at the period when any grave 
heritable disease attacked the parent. Thus 
inexplicable neuralgic affections have attacked 
parents and children — although we may fairly 
hope that in these days neuralgia is becoming 
strictly amenable to medical science. Blind- 
ness is sadly hereditary; in one case thirty- 
seven members of a race. Another &mily 
suffered from ferocious headaches which 
always ceased at a certain age. 

A great many important practical ques- 
tions turn on this subject of Atavism. For 
instance, there is the important practical 
question, which cousins seem in such a 
hurry to answer in the affirmative, whether 
cousins ought to marry. Another very im- 
portant question is, whether consumptives 
ought to marry. Dr. Charles J. B. Williams 
says that he has so ' advised many a consump- 


tive, and in numerous instances the results 
Imve been happy.' He also very truly says— 
and the saying illustrates the proverbial sel-» 
fishness of love — ^that the objection that chil- 
dren may inherit the consumptive tendency 
is an objection more valid with physicians 
and friends than with the consumptives 
whose affections are engaged. In reference 
to inherited disease, very strange is the fact 
that we may see one member of a family 
surviving in good health to a good old age, 
while all the other members of the family 
fall victims to consumption or some other 
form of inherited disease; a fact which in- 
dicates, among other things, how chaotic and 
problematical is the real knowledge of chest 

Mr. Herbert Spencer has an ingenious ar- 
gument on the subject of Atavism. He 
discusses the subject of our appreciation of 
scenery, which he is not content to refer 
simply to the tastes or associations of an 
individual man himself. He goes beyond 
this to ' certain deeper, but now vague, com- 
binations of states, that were organised in 

VOL. I. E 


the race during barbarous times, when its 
pleasurable activities were among the moun- 
t^iins, woods, and waters. Out of these 
excitations, some of them actual, but most 
of them nascent, is composed the emotion 
which a fine landscape produces in us.' If 
I understand Mr. Spencer's theory, to which 
Professor Tyndall gives his adhesion, we 
have here a new phase of the doctrine of 
Atavism. Just as Mr. Darwin seized from 
Mr. Woolner that little protuberance of the 
ear which he imagines identifies us with our 
simian ancestry, so Mr. Spencer thinks that 
he detects in our love of scenery involving 
adventures the traces of our barbaric descent. 
In this way the race in its progress absorbs 
and contains in itself the characteristics of 
the dififerent generations. 

But there is another aspect of Atavism, 
necessarily untouched by physiologists, on 
which I should desire to say a few words. 
There is the curious subject of the recurrence 
of moral characteristics, where the mental 
and moral characteristics of men dormant 
for generations singularly wake up in their 


descendants. There are some fine lines in 
George Eliot's ' Spanish Gipsy ' which bring 
out the subject, and poetry is here as true as 

I read a record deeper than the skin. 
What ! Shall the trick of nostril and of lips 
Descend through generations, and the soul 
That moves within our frame like God in worlds- 
Convulsing, urging, melting, withering — 
Imprint no record, leave no documents 
Of her great history ? Shall men bequeath 
The fancies of their palates to their sons, 
And shall the shudder of restraining awe, 
The slow- wept tears of contrite memory, 
Faith's prayerful labour, and the food divine 
Of &sts ecstatic — shall these pass away. 
Like wind upon the waters, tracklessly ? 
Shall the mere curl of eyelashes remain. 
And God-enshrining symbols leave no trace 
Of tremors reverent ? That maiden's blood 
Is as unchristian as the leopard's. 

Just as you may transmit peculiarities of 
hair, eye, and lip you may also transmit a 
sceptical, or meditative, or irritable tendency. 
Not only the trick of nostril and lip, but the 
meditative or devotional vein is transmitted 
to posterity. There is many a parent wha 
grieves over his own errors reproduced ; but 
a grand&ther often takes more notice of a 

E 2 


child's ways even than his fether, and may, 
perhaps, according to the principle of Ata- 
vism, often see his own ways reproduced. 
And now a further principle comes into play, 
a moral law of a very peculiar character. 

We often notice how there are certain 
faults which we call * family failings' that 
seem transmitted from generation to genera- 
tion. Sometimes fiery passion seems inherent 
in a line, sometimes covetousness or untruth ; 
again and again there is some ugly phase of 
human nature produced of the same tjrpe. 
And now look at another set of correlated 
instances. Do you ever notice how some 
particular kind of tnisfortunes dogs certain 
families ? Sometimes it is childlessness ; there 
is never more than one son in a family, or 
title and estates never come by direct suc- 
(jession. Sometimes the children are all 
early swept away by death. Sometimes there 
is chronic struggle and poverty; sometimes 
chronic disease. It seems impossible to con- 
nect any special form of moral evil with any 
special form of misfortune, in such descent. 
What, for instance, has the childlessness of 


people got to do with their covetousness ? 
Yet if we admit the theory of the moral 
government of the universe, it is by no means 
inconceivable that in a wonderful way this 
kind of sorrow may be penalty and correc- 
tive for this kind of moral eviL We may 
be powerless to trace the connection, but 
still a subtle connection may exist. There 
certainly seems a kind of Atavism in the 
moral government of the world; the good 
and evil of a family manifesting itself to 
distant generations, and when the same kind 
of evil is exhibited, the same kind of penalty 
revives. The subject is obscure and difficult, 
but we seem dimly to discern the outlines of 
a moral law. 

It is not at all uncommon to find men 
shielding themselves behind their habits, and 
referring these habits to the mode of bring- 
ing up in their youth. There is, however, 
a kind of fatalism in this argument; it is 
the plea of necessity. It is a plea which, in 
early years, and to a certain extent, has great 
force. But the time comes when reason and 
conscience should become more potent in- 


fluences than the suggestions of the instinct 
of habit. It may be granted that those whose 
careless or unguarded youth has been spent 
in the slavery of evil habits start heavily 
weighted in the race of life. For such per- 
sons there is a doubly-hard self-conquest to 
be attained before any other true conquest 
is possible. 

There are optimist views and pessimist 
views of life, both of which are probably 
equally remote from the truth. Perhaps a 
man starts in life heavily weighted with some 
grievance. Through his own carelessness, 
or that of some one else, he broke his leg, 
and evermore any running that he can make 
in a race is that of a lame man. It seems 
absurd to take an optimist point of view, and 
to say that the best thing possible for the 
man was that his leg should be broken. It 
is equally absurd to be always groaning as 
you shoulder the crutch. Here are the 
given circumstances, and you have to make 
the best of them. Nature, with her count- 
less adaptations, perhaps makes some exqui- 
site atonement for that which seemed marred 


and wasted. I think we may all venture to be 
optimists, not in the sense that everytliing is 
for the best — which appears to me to be hardly 
religious or rational — but in the sense that we 
may make the best of everything. The. 
■Christian is told that all things will work 
together for his good; but he is not told that 
better things would not have worked for a 
higher good. 

It is sad indeed to watch the moral wreck 
that is exhibited by some wretched victim 
who is vanquished by the dominant power 
of some evil habit. Aristotle has traced the 
progress of the man who has no self-control 
to the state of the man whom no remedies 
can amend.^ At times there seems so 
much that is winning and estimable about 
some man of whom we are told that he is 
the helpless slave of some vice or hideous 
passion. The details of such an unfortunate 
state of mind at times appear to be not unlike 
those of demoniacal possession, and to suggest 
the possibihty that there may be still those 
possessed like the Gadarenes of old. Thu- 


cydides tells us that at the time of the plague 
of Athens other diseases disappeared, or, if 
any existed, they ran into the prevalent type 
of illness. So the man who has some master 
•vice often shows a singular freedom from 
other viciousness and moral obliquity, and 
exhibits a remarkable grace [and attractive- 
ness. He will charm us by his amiability, 
and intellectual powers, and then suddenly we 
shall see a sudden and awful revelation of 
depravity. He is like a lunatic who is able 
to simulate sanity ; who on many points will 
baffle the acuteness of counsel, and finally will 
exhibit some frightful delusion. Often the 
helpless victim endeavours to struggle against 
the coils of that evil habit, against which all 
his better nature unavailingly protests. How 
sad and plaintive is the language of a true 
genius, the victim of a dominant vice,, 
speaking of the Magdalene ! — 

She sat and wept^ and with her untressed hair 
She wiped the feet she was so blest to touch. 

And He wiped off the railing of despair 
From her sweet soul, because she loved so much. 

I am a sinner, full of doubts and fears, 

Make me a humble thing of love and tears. 


That is a frightful 'turning-point' in the 
life of a man or woman when the evil habit^ 
after many struggles, asserts its supremacy. 
That is an infinitely blessed ' moment ' when 
once more there is the rising tide of good 
habit. The moral disease of the soul often 
requires much of the skilful diagnosis and 
careful treatment of a bodily disease. The 
only sane way of overpowering and eradi- 
cating evil habits is the encouragement of 
good habits and a systematic perseverance in 
them. There is a divine science in those 
things. Cease to do evil; learn to do well. 
Here is both the negative and the positive 
side of well-doing. It is much to abstain 
from the act of sin; that its opportunity 
should recur, and that no advantage should 
be taken of it; that the temptation should 
be encountered and mastered. It is much, 
too, that the opposite tendencies should be 
encouraged, that the good habits should be 
constituted whose nature is to conflict with 
and destroy the opposite vices. It is often 
good that the sickly soul should be placed 
jonder entirely new conditions, where it shall 


be sheltered from baneful influences, and be 
brought within salutary influences. There 
was a man of high position who attributed 
all his prosperity and health to a sentence 
of penal servitude which he once under- 
went. He was a man of extravagant, in- 
temperate habits, who had stabbed some one 
in a fit of drunken fury. Imprisonment and 
hard labour debarred him from temptation, 
and encouraged the formation of regular 
iabits. Physical and moral health returned 
once more. On his release he came into a 
large property, married well, and became an 
active magistrate. It is now, we believe, an 
accepted observation that it is the long sen- 
tences, and not the short sentences, of penal 
servitude that really promote the reformation 
of offenders against the law. 

There is always the danger of a relapse. 
There is au inevitable reaction on the cessation 
of a system of discipline. It is as when the 
unclean spirit has gone out of the house of a 
human soul and left it swept and garnished. 
But the strengthened, purified soul will be able 
to resist. A medical analogy will help us here. 


Physicians will tell us that in the gradual ameli- 
oration of symptoms the constitutional vigour 
will be renewed, and the chronic disease thrown 
off. So after being in the school of ceasing 
to do evil, and learning to do well, it may 
be found that when the temptation recurs, 
it is altogether inoperative to tempt. 

The diseased soul cannot find a true 
remedy in itself. Elsewhere miist be sought 
the physician and the balm. There is no 
more important ' turning-point ' in life than 
when the insidious advance of an evU habit is 
noted, and we flee to God for help. Such 
seasons involve the deeper issues of the soul, 
which are more important than any external 
event. The young and ardent may in airy 
imagination construct visionary scenes of those 
decisive events which shall be the turning- 
points of their lives, and accomplish for them 
the fulfilment of their day-dreams. Such events 
may appear, or, more probably, they may not. 
It is in the steady formation of favourable 
habits alone that we can form any moral cer- 
titude that something analogous may occur. 
These will assure that when the opportunity 


arises it will be grasped and turned to the 
best advantage, or that the good habits in their 
slow, unfelt persistence have reaped all the 
solid good, and more than could be gained by 
any merely fortuitous occurrence. 



CRITICAL * moments' OF LIFE. 

There occur from time to time in human life 
signal moments, which become the landmarks 
of its history. These are indeed the momen- 
tous moments of life. They come upon us 
unawares. The air is charged with no sense 
of oppression and awe. There is no visible 
sign to the most observant or to the most 
superstitious. The 'moment' itself often comes 
in the most ordinary and common-place guise. 
It is perhaps only a caU, a letter, aa interview, 
a sudden suggestion, a few minutes' talk at a 
railwav station, and with a suddenness and 
abruptness one section of life is clasped, and an 
entirely new page of its ledger opened up. 
* Do you remember writing me a letter one 
day giving M.'s proposition? ' said a man to 
me the other day. ' It was the turning-point 


of my life. When your proposal came I had 
also a proposition to go to Scotland. I made 
my election, and it coloured all my life.' In 
the interesting biography of Mr. Barham lately 
published, it is mentioned that he was going 
along St. Paul's Churchyard when he met a 
friend with a letter in his hand. The letter 
was to invite a clergyman from the country 
to come up and stand for a minor canonry at 
St. Paul's. It occurred to him that ]\Jr. Bar- 
ham would do just as well, and accordingly 
the great humourist settled down into a 
metropolitan wit and diner-out. I hardly 
know whether he was exactly at home in his 
vocation as a clergyman, but he and Sidney 
Smith together were the cheerful influences of 
the Chapter, and probably in a better position 
there than in a pastoral charge. Smith alter- 
nated his tremendous spirits with deep fits of 
depression, and there is hardly any more 
melancholy story than of the carelessness which 
ultimately destroyed Barham's life. There 
wa« a short youig feUow studying in the 
reading room of the British Museum. It 
hardly seemed that he had any higher chance 


in life than to become usher in a commercial 
school, and perhaps in course of time win his 
way to have a commercial school of his own. 
He attracted the attention of a gentlemen who 
was reading there, who sent him to Oxford, 
and after taking his degree he soon made his 
thousand a year. I am sorry to say that to 
him, as to many a clever fellow, the success 
was ruinous in the issue. I remember hearing 
of a man who while hunting about for a pair 
of horses encountered an old college friend in 
a state of great seediness and dejection. He 
was a poor curate who did not care to stay in 
England, and wanted some post abroad. He 
was told of a trifling chaplaincy in a remote 
place on the Continent. It seemed as if he 
was cutting himself off from every avenue to 
professional advancement at home. But the 
English Ambassador, it so happened, came to 
this little town, and was so charmed with the 
temporary chaplain that he succeeded in get- 
ting him high preferment in England. 

It is here that the great importance of the 
subject of habit indicates itself. The crucial 
moment comes. It comes as a matter of chance, 


and it appears to be as a matter of chance 
how it shall be treated. But it is not really 
so. Habit has established an instinct of the 
mind. The soul, when a sudden demand is 
made upon it for a decision, instinctively 
throws itself back upon its past experience, 
and answers the demand in precise accordance 
with the habits of its essential life. For many 
years the life has been unconsciously shaping 
tod training itself towards the solution of 
some problem which presents itself at the last. 
We should all be anxious to utilize to the 
utmost such a moment of fate. 

This is eloquently put in a young girl's 
marvellous story of ' Jane Ejo-e :' ' The more 
solitary, the more friendless, the more unsus- 
tained I am, the naore I will respect myself. 
I will keep the law given by God, sanctioned 
by man. I will hold to the principles received 
by me when I was sane, and not mad — as I 
am now. Laws and principles are not for the 
times when there is no temptation ; they are 
for such moments as this, when body and soul 
rise against their rigour. Stringent ai'e they ; 
inviolate shall they be. If at my individual 


convenience I might break them, what would 
be their worth ? They have a worth, so I have 
always believed ; and if I cannot beheve it 
now, it is because I am insane — quite insane ; 
with my veins running fire, and my heart 
beating faster than I can count its throbs. 
Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations 
are all that I have at this hour to stand by : 
there I plant my foot/ 

But here is the intense importance of the 
habit. The present is the only time, and the 
golden time. Each action of life ought to be 
susceptible of being referred to a principle 
and a rationale^ and so when the momentous 
moment arrives it comes not on us unawares, 
* but at a convenient season.' 

Stay, stay the present instant, 

Imprint the marks of wisdom on its wings I 

let it not elude thy grasp, but like 

The good old patriarch upon record 

Hold the fleet angel fast imtil he bless thee ! 

Then it is a distinct moment in life when first 
one meets with some friends, whose intercourse 
probably colours all subsequent history. The 
readers and' writers of novels appear to look 

VOL. I. F 


upon love-making as the great event in human 
history, but probably the friendships which a 
man makes mth men fonn a more enduring 
influence. There is a time in the days of 
youth when the mind is full of active, fer- 
menting thought, and seems to wait for the 
impregnating moment that shall fertiUse it. 
To the boy fresh from school, whose mind is 
full of the active or intellectual pursuits of life, 
the moment when he is drawn into intimacy 
with some man eminent in that line to which 
his special interest is being drawn, is almost 
a supreme moment in life. The youth has 
had a natural taste for art, and he has been 
thrown into intimacy with an artist. He has 
had a love of letters, and for the first time 
some friend guides his taste, and the riches 
of a great library are put at his disposal. He 
has had a natural taste for mechanical con- 
trivance, and some engineer sees and likes him, 
and explains to him the principles of his craft. 
Such friendships as develop natural tastes, and 
lead into new fields of knowledge, form in 
their commencement real crises and turning- 
points of life. So Lord Shelburne said of a 


visit to the aged Malesherbes, ' I have travelled 
much, but I have never been so influenced by 
personal contact with any man ; and if ever 
I accomplish any good in the course of my 
life, I am certain that the recollection of M. de 
Malesherbes will animate my soul/ ' I al- 
ways remembered,' said Flaxman, ' Romney's 
notice of my boyish years and productions 
with gratitude ; I shall feel the benefit of 
his acquaintance.' 

Then, early intellectual moments in life, I 
imagine, imprint themselves as strongly upon 
the memory as any events of the outer life. 
We have spoken of the irrepressible delight 
with which the boy 01: girl produces a 
poem, or what seems to them as such, and there 
is a sense of a new power. But so it is when 
the same young hero first discovers that he 
can swim, or can draw, or can stand up and 
make a speech. Who is there who cannot re- 
collect the wild delight with which he first read 
the ' Arabian Nights ' or ' Robinson Crusoe,' 
or his maturer years in which he first read 
the picturesque pages of Macaulay, devoured 
the works of Scott or Dickens, or was inocu- 

p 2 


lated with the epidemic enthusiasm for Ten- 
nyson ! No doubt it has often been the reading 
of some particular book which has determined 
a man to be an artist, a traveller, or a student 
of nature. I remember as a young man there 
were three books which the University of Ox- 
ford put into our hands as young students, 
which were calculated to do us very real ser- 
vice. I am afraid that I did not make as much 
use as I might have done of them, but doubt- 
less they did me a great service, and I shall 
always feel gratefiil to the Kind Mother who 
directed my attention to them. I can very 
well understand how, when Dr. Arnold was 
hesitating whethei; he should send his son to 
Cambridge or Oxford, ' dear old " Tottle " ^ 
settled the day. He could not bear that his 
son should not have the advantage of the 
course of philosophy at Oxford. I was not 
very much impressed with the little I read 
of Aristotle. In those days we did nothing 
much beyond the ' Ethics,' but the first time I 
read the ' Republic ' of Plato through, espe- 
cially with the advantage, not altogether un- 
mixed, of Mr. Jowett's lectures, quite a new 


-world of thought broke in upon one. The other 
two works were those of authors of our own, 
who are universally known and quoted — ^the 
* Analogy ' of Butler, and the ' Novum Organon' 
of 3acon. If the University of Oxford teaches 
a man nothing else, it at least teaches him how 
to read a book carefully and thoroughly. 
Let me also say it delights me to pay this 
parting tribute to the memory of a wise and 
excellent man — that reading through the first 
two volumes of Alford's Greek Testament was 
a wonderful help and a good introduction to 
' Bibhcal Criticism ' to those of us who took 
orders after his work was completed, ' I re- 
member,' says an Oxford alter ego^ ' the few 
striking events of an ordinary life, seeing a 
great fire, being nearly drowned in the Rhine, 
nearly lost on hills, catching a fever, thrown 
out of a carriage, seeing the Queen, and so on, 
but hardly any events have been more vivid 
than the reading of the Oxford class books for 
" Greats/' ' 

Many instances might be given of the con- 
tact of mind with mind, of the fertile results 
that have come to pass when some receptive 


has been brought into contact with some fer- 
tilizing mind. Perhaps there was no man who 
exercised a more astonishing influence on 
young people than Dr. Arnold. Thus we read 
in a recent 'Life of Bishop Cotton/ the Metro- 
politan of India, how he came to Rugby as an 
Assistant Master, and he is described in ' Tom 
Brpwn's School Days ' as the ' model young 
master/ The biographer says, ' The influ- 
ences of this appointment on his after life were 
incalculable. First amongst these must be 
counted the impression produced upon him by 
the character and teaching of his great chief. 
It is not too much to say that there was none 
of all the direct pupils of Dr. Arnold on whom 
so deep and exclusive a mark of their master's 
mind was produced as on Cotton. . . In later 
years, in many instances, its particular effects 
were more, or less rudely effaced either by the 
impulses of their own growing thoughts, or 
by the disturbing attractions of other men and 
other schools of thought.' This by the way 
truly indicates what there was of decline in 
Arnold's influence. But Cotton came into 
contact with him after his mind had been 


already formed, and yet before he had been 
swayed by any other commanding influence. 
Mr. Francis William Newman, in his ' Phases 
of Faith,' gives a very interesting account of 
the various people whom he met and who aided 
him in the formation of his opinions. Mr. 
Newman went out to Bagdad, apparently with 
the intention of converting the heathen, but in 
the result the heathen nearer home converted 
him. Dr. Arnold did not influence him, and 
his influence over Newman's mind declined. He 
thus gives an account of the incident which 
really seems to have been a turning-point to 
him. * When we were at Aleppo, I one day got 
into religious discourse with a Mahomedan 
carpenter, which left on me a lasting impres- 
sion. Among other matters, I was peculiarly 
desirous of disabusing him of the current notion 
of his people, that our Gospels are spurious nar- 
ratives of late dates. I found great difficulty of 
expression ; but the man listened to me with 
much attention, and I was encouraged to exert 
myself. He waited patiently till I had done, 
and then spoke to the following effect: — " I 
•will tQll you, sir, how the case stands. God has 



given to you English a great many good gifts. 
You make fine ships, and sharp penknives, 
and good cloth and cottons ; and you have rich 
nobles and brave soldiers ; and you write and 
print many learned books (dictionaries and 
grammars) ; all this is of God. But there is 
one thing that God has withheld from you 
and revealed to us, and that is a knowledge of 
the true religion, by which one may be saved." 
When he thus ignored my argument (which 
was probably quite unintelligible to him), and 
dehvered his simple protest, I was silenced, and 
at the same time amused. But the more I 
thought it over, the more instruction I saw 
in the case. His position towards me was 
exactly that of a humble Christian towards an 
unbelieving philosopher; nay, that of the 
early apostles or Jewish prophets towards the 
proud, cultivated, worldly-wise, and power- 
ful heathen.' 

It is very interesting to compare the ex- 
perience of such a man as Francis Newman 
with that of such a man as his brother John 
Henry Newman. We extract a passage fi'om 
the famous ' Apology.' We see here a turning- 


point in individual life, and more than that, in 
the religious history of the century. 

* Especially, when I was left to myself, the 
thought came upon me that deliverance is 
wrought, not by the many, but by the few. not 
by bodies, but by persons. Now it was, I think, 
that I repeated to myself the words which 
had ever been dear to me from my school 
days, " Exoriare aliquis ! " Now, too, that 
Southey's beautiful poem of " Thalaba," for 
which I had an immense liking, came forcibly 
to my mind, I began to think that I had a 
mission. There are sentences gf my letters 
to my friends to this effect, if they are not 
destroyed. When we took leave of Monsig- 
nore Wiseman, he had courteously expressed 
a wish that we might make a second visit to 
Kome. I said, with great gravity, ^' We have 
a work to do in England." I went down at 
once to Sicily, and the presentiment grew 
stronger. I struck into the middle of the 
island, and fell ill of a fever at Leonforte. My 
servant thought that I was dying, and begged 
for my last directions. I gave them as he 
wished, but I said, " I shall not die." I re- 


peated, " I shall not die, for I have not sinned 
against light ; I have not sinned against light/' 
I have never been able to make out at all what 
I meant. 

* I got to Castro Giovanni, and was laid up 
there for nearly three weeks. Towards the 
end of May I set off for Palermo, taking three 
days for the journey. Before starting from 
my inn in the morning of May 26th or 27th, 
I sat down on my bed, and began to sob bit- 
terly. My servant, who had acted as my 
nurse, asked what ailed me. I could only 
answer, " I have a work to do in England/' 

' I was aching to get home ; yet for want of 
a vessel I was kept at Palermo nearly three 
weeks. I began to visit the churches, and 
they calmed my impatience, though I did not 
attend any services. I knew nothing of the 
presence of the Blessed Sacrament there. At 
last I got off in an orange boat bound for 
Marseilles. We were becalmed a whole week 
in the Straits of Bonafacio. Then it was I 
wrote the lines " Lead, kindly light," which 
have since become well known. I was writ- 
ing verses the whole time of my passage. At 


length I got to Marseilles, and set off for Eng- 
land. The fatigue of travelling was too much 
for me, and I was laid up for several days at 
Lyons. At last I got off again, and did not 
stop night or day till I reached England, and 
my mother's house. My brother had arrived 
from Persia only a few hours before. This 
was on Tuesday. The following Sunday, 
July 14th, Mr. Keble preached the assize ser- 
mon in the University pulpit. It was pub- 
lished under the title of '' National Apostacy." 
I have ever considered and kept the day as 
the start of the religious movement of 1833.' 
Of a sudden turning-point in a man's des- 
tiny we may find an example in the ' Life of 
Bishop Cotton.' His whole course of life 
was changed very suddenly. When the news 
came to England of the death of Bishop 
Wilson, soon after the Mutiny, his great 
friend, Dr. Tait, determined if possible to se- 
cure the appointment for Dr. Cotton, the 
head-master of Marlborough. ' The Bishop of 
London, with all the energy of his character, 
pressed Cotton's merits on the Government 
of that day, but, partly from an apprehension 


»w^b— n^iiiafci— ^i^M— i^i— ^w^— ■*— ^— ^— *M^i**^-^— ^— ■■■■■■■ i ■ i i- - ■ — - 

lest his modesty should throw some obstacle 
in the way, without consulting Cotton him- 
self. Meanwhile, from causes unnecessary 
here to mention, the hope of accomplishing 
this object had faded away, and the subject 
was dropped, until the Bishop was suddenly 
informed that if Cotton would take the post 
it was still at his disposal. There was not a 
moment of time to be lost. A change of 
Government had just taken place, and Mr^ 
Vernon Smith, now Lord Lyveden, who was 
then the Secretary of State for India, was 
holding the post only till a new Ministry 
could be formed. The Bishop telegraphed 
the offer to Marlborough. It was like a 
thunderbolt to Cotton in the midst of his 
peaceful labours. The telegram dropped 
from his hands, and he rushed from the 
school to his house, and thence hurried to 
London. . . It was one of those decisive cases 
in which the mere decision is enough to 
shake the minds of most. Perhaps in Cot- 
ton's case an outside spectator would have 
been startled and even disappointed to ob- 
serve how slightly he seemed to be agitated. 


The calm, disinterested view which on all 
occasions he would take of his own character 
and position as of a third person, enabled 
him in all simplicity to accept the estimate 
of others concerning himself, and to acquiesce 
in a change in many ways so alien to his 
habits and feelings. On the foUdwing day he 
saw the Indian Minister, whose brief words 
dwelt in his memory as containing in a short 
compass the extent of his opportunities and 
responsibilities : '' I believe that in appointing 
you I have done the best for the interests of 
India, the Church of England, and of Chris- 
tianity/' These words long dwelt in Cotton's 
mind. He kept them before him as what his 
episcopate should be, and we may now fairly 
say that it was an estimate which his epis 
copate did not disappoint.' A friend has just 
told me that, taking coffee one day at a coflfee- 
house in Ceylon, two men entered the room 
and joined him in the meal. They were 
dressed as laymen, and proved very pleasant 
companions. He happened to mention that 
the Metropolitan of India was expected in the 
diocese of Colombo, and then one of them 


introduced himself to him as the Bishop of 
Calcutta* It was a strange, out-of-the-way 
meeting-place. My friend, a missionary — and 
Cotton was not always popular with mission- 
aries — thought him a wise and good man. 

The story of Cotton's remarkable death will 
be remembered. The bishop's body was never 
recovered after he had lost his footing on the 
float and had been precipitated into the river. 
Yet I know of an officer who lost a signet ring 
in the same stream. He immediately affixed 
a pole to mark the spot, employed a diver, 
and recovered the ring. One would have 
thought a human body would have been 
more easily recoverable. It is singular that 
on the morning of the day on which he 
perished he had been consecrating a ceme- 
tery, and had said * that departed souls 
suffered no injury if their bodies were left 
in a desert place, or on a field of battle, or 
in any'other way were unable to receive the 
rites of burial.' 

I think there are very few people — and the 
fact is [sufficiently remarkable — who can look 
back upon their lives without seeing that 


there has been some time or other in which 
they have incurred the peril of a sudden, 
violent death. There is a curious story told 
of a man who came on the field of battle. 
The Duke of Wellington remonstrated with 
him, and the gentleman replied that his 
Grace was in the same peril. * Yes/ said 
the Duke, ' but I am doing my duty.' It 
was just at this moment that a ball struck 
the unfortunate man dead. We seem to be 
taught by such instances that there is ' a time 
to be born and a time to die,' and that while 
change and chance happen to all men, there 
are laws in these changes and chances, not 
indeed clearly visible — at times indeed ap- 
pearing to act with odd caprice — ^but in the 
great emergencies of life manifesting an in- 
fluence overruled for good. 

Many curious instances of individual good 
fortune might be given. Some time ago there 
was a paragraph in the newspapers, which I 
believe was correct, stating that an old lady, 
childless and friendless, suddenly made up 
her mind to leave a large property to the 
children of some chemist or greengrocer at 


whose shop she had always received great 
civility. It is worth noting that civility has 
always had luck as an ally. There is the 
stoiy told of some gentleman who, on a 
battle-field, happening to bow with much 
grace to some officer who addressed him, a 
cannon ball just went through his hair, and 
took off the head of the other one. The 
officer, when he saw his marvellous escape, 
justly observed that a man never lost by po- 
liteness. Another curious story of luck on 
a battle-field is, I believe, perfectly authentic. 
A ball passed straight through a man's body, 
and the man recovered.^ Thus much is not 
unparalleled, but there was something more, 

^ It might be ihouglit that there is nothing more ca- 
pricious than the billet of a bullet, but even this chance 
has a calculable element. Mr. Galton (* Hereditary Ge- 
nius ') says : — The chance of a man being struck by acci- 
dental shots, is in proportion to his sectional area — ^that is, 
to his shadow on a neighbouring wall, cast by a distant 
light, or to his height multiplied into his natural breadth. 
However, it is equally easy, and more convenient, to cal- 
culate from the better-known data of his height and weight. 
One man differs from another in being more or less tall, 
and more or less thick-set. It is tmnecessary to consider 
depth (of chest for example) as well as width, for the two 
go together. Let A = a man^a height, k' = his weight, 


highly curious and lucky. The man was 
consumptive, and had formed tubercles. 
The ball carried away the tubercles, and 
the man recovered, not only from the wound, 
but from the consumption. 

I myself knew a man who had been a poor 
Cornish miner, and, hke so many of his class. 
had been forced to emigrate. He was long 
in Peru, but all his attempts to get on 
seemed utterly to fail. At last, when he 
was about to give up in despair, he suddenly 
came upon a vein of the purest silver. He 
returned to the west country, where he pur- 
chased one of its largest and best estates. 
He took me over his magnificent grounds, 
and told me what he had been able to do 
for good causes dear to his heart. His in- 
come had been returned for that year at 
sixty thousand pounds. I was told of a 
curious gleam of romance in this man's life. 
He had been engaged to a poor girl before 

h = his average breadlih, taken in any direction we please, 
but it must be in the same direction for all. Then his 
weight w varies as h 5', and his sectional area varies as A ^, 
or as a/ ^ X A &^, or as V ^ t^* 
VOL. I. G 



he emigrated, and on his return he dressed 
himself in his old working clothes and went 
to the poor cottage, where he found his old 
love unchanged and welcoming him back. It 
was a glad surprise next day. 

There once lived a man in the West of 
England — the story is well known there — 
who took a thousand shares in a mine, and 
never had to pay more than a pound apiece 
for them; and on those shares he lived sump- 
tuously, and out of the income of those shares 
he bought an estate for a hundred thousand 
pounds, and, finally, he sold those shares for 
half-a-million of money. There is a man in 
Berkshire who has got a park with a walled 
frontage of seven miles, and he tells of a 
beautiful little operation which made a nice 
little addition to his fortune. He was in 
Australia when the first discoveries of gold 
were made. The miners brought in their 
nuggets, and took them to the local banks. 
The bankers were a little nervous about the 
business, uncertain about the quality of the 
gold, and waiting to see its character es- 
tablished. This man had a taste for natural 


sciences, and knew something about metal- 
lurgy. He tried each test, solid and fluid, 
satisfied himself of the quality of the gold, 
and then, with all the money he had or could 
borrow, he bought as much gold as might be, 
and showed a profit of a hundred thousand 
pounds in the course of a day or two. It is to 
be observed here that what we call luck is re- 
solvable very often into what is really obser- 
vation and knowledge, and a happy tact in 
applying them when a sudden opportunity 
arises. The late Joseph Hume was a happy 
instance of this. He went out to India, and 
while he was still a young man he accumu- 
lated a considerable fortune. He saw that 
hardly any about him knew the native 
languages, so he applied himself to the hard 
work of mastering them, and turned the know- 
ledge to most profitable account. On one 
occasion, when all the gunpowder had failed 
the British army, he sijcceeded in scraping 
together a large amount of the necessary 
materials, and manufactured it for our troops. 
When he returned to England he canvassed 
with 80 much ability and earnestness for a 



seat in the East India Directorate, that he 
might carry out his scheme of reform, that, 
though he failed to get the vote of a 
certain large proprietor of stock, he won his 
daughter's heart, and made a prosperous 
marriage. Marriage is, after all, the luckiest 
bit of luck when it is all it should be. When 
Henry Baring, the late Lord Ashburton, tra- 
velled in America — ^not merely dilettante tra- 
velling, but like Lord Milton in our days, 
piercing into untravelled wilds, meeting only 
a stray, enthusiastic naturalist, like Audubon 
— ^he made his marriage with Miss Bingham, 
and so consolidated the American business of 
the great house of Baring. In an intema- 
tional point of view this was a happy marriage, 
for in after years it gave him a peculiar fecility 
for concluding the great Ashburton treaty. 
When young Thesiger gave up the trade of 
midshipman I dare say some kind friends 
pronounced him a failure ; but no one would 
say that of Lord Chancellor Chelmsford. 
There was another man who became a British 
peer through circumstances full of luck for the 
country, but which he doubtless always con- 
sidered of direst unluck to himself. A quiet, 


happy country gentleman was Mr. Graliam, 
with abundant means and healthful tastes, a 
handsome estate and handsome wife. There 
is a tale of his prowess related about his wife. 
They were at Edinburgh, and were going to 
a great ball, when, to her mfinite annoyance, 
she found that she had left her jewel-case 
behind her. The distance was sixty or seventy 
miles, and it was not many hours before th^ 
ball was to come off. Graham took a fleet 
horse, and at the top of his speed rode away 
homewards in search of the jewel-case. He 
did his ride of a hundred and fifty miles in 
marvellously short time, and the ornaments 
were in time for the ball. When the wife, for 
whose comfort and pleasure he had so chival- 
rously acted, died, Mr. Graham was incon- 
solable. To alleviate his deep-seatedmelancholy 
he joined the army as a volimteer. Then 
commenced his splendid career as a soldier, 
in which he proved himself one of the most 
efficient and gallant of Wellington's lieute- 
nants, and fought his way to pension and 
peerage. Such was the turniag point in the 
history of the late Lord Lynedoch. 
There are some cases where in a critical con- 


juncture of circumstances there almost seems 
a direct intervention. Some instances might 
be given from the long and curious list of 
tales about enlistment in the army. Thus 
we have a curious story about Mr. Wickham, 
the father of the eminent diplomatist. He 
was determined to be a soldier, but his grand- 
father could not endure the idea. He ran 
away and enlisted in the service of Piedmont. 
He was one day standing sentinel at the gate 
^f Alexandria, when two men of rank whom 
he had known presented themselves with 
their passports. For the sake of the joke 
young Wickham could not resist giving them 
a military salute. One of them. Sir Charles 
Cotton, immediately recognised him, and 
stayed the whole day in Alexandria, for the 
sole purpose of engaging him to write to friends, 
and with great difficulty persuaded the young 
man to do so. His grandfather gave way, 
and procured him a commission in the Guards, 
and the man who might have perished as a 
common soldier in foreign service became 
an honoured and active magistrate and coun- 
try gentleman, and the father of one of the 


most useful of our public servants. Still 
more remarkable was the case of Coleridge, 
who, having enlisted as a common soldier, 
wrote some lines in Latin which drew the 
attention of his superior officer, who procured 
his release. Sometimes the ' intervention ' 
assumes a character which hardly any one 
would shrink from terming strictly pro- 
vidential. Thus at the commencement of 
Washington's military career, a soldier in the 
enemy's army was on the point of picking 
him off when he was totally unaware of his 
danger. Thrice he raised his finger to the 
trigger, and thrice by an uncontrollable im- 
pulse he forbore to fire. There was a re- 
markable retributive kind of Providence 
in the case of Sir John Hawkins, the 
famous seaman in the days of great 
Elizabeth. He it was who, in an evil day 
for the English race, first inaugurated the 
slave trade. It is a remarkable fact that Sir 
John's own son was taken prisoner by a 
Barbary corsair, and he died broken-hearted 
through grief. 

Similarly in matters relating to the inner 


life. There are certain books which to 
certain men have proved a sphitual and mental 
crisis. Thus one hears of a man having 
his whole course of life altered through 
reading Scott's ^ Force of Truth.' In reli- 
gious biography we frequently meet instances 
in which the perusal of some volume has 
been a turning-point in life. In the lives of 
quiet thinkers, men who pass apparently 
uneventful lives, that are almost barren for 
biographical purposes, the leading events of 
their history are the sudden thoughts that 
strike them ; the books they read which 
opened up avenues of intellectual interest, 
and conducted them into lines pf separate 
investigation. The ' moment ' may have 
passed unnoticed by the world, and they may 
have a difficulty in fixing it for themselves, 
but it n.y be \ criT^f .piritoa. aod in! 
tellectual history — the best kind of history 
after all. 

There are moments too which are those 
of supreme import, moments of keen 
temptation, unhappy doubt, intense sorrow — 
moments when men have gone as in very 


agony out of themselves to the Eternal 
Throne of God, seeking for a teaching, a help, 
a consolation that this earth would be power- 
less to afford. Then there has been some 
solemn moment in which a deep, grave re- 
solve has been made, in which the resolu- 
tion has been steadily formed to make some 
great act of self-denial ; to abandon some evil 
habit, to conquer some overmastering tempta- 
tion. The recollection of such a moment is 
potent to the last; such a moment is a true 
landmark in any human history, and has 
served to shape and develope the powers of 
the soul. In the moral life there frequently 
comes some moment which is the very centre 
of a life's histoiy. A temptation has graduaUy 
been exerting its fascinating influence over 
a man's mind, and the temptation is obtaining 
an increasing force. The soul has long re- 
sisted, but the resistance shows a diminish- 
ing strength. The hour comes when the 
power of the temptation and the power of the 
resistance seem closely balanced. We are 
now reminded of the picture of the Devil 
playing at chess with a man for his soul. 


Then, by some mighty impulse, the soul 
makes election, although how that election 
was determined we cannot say. All possible 
interests hang perchance upon the balance 
of a moment. Perhaps the leap into the 
abyss was then made; perhaps by a strong 
convulsive eflPbrt the man tore himself from 
the side of the precipice, and found himself 
safe on the spacious table-lands. This, is that 
turning-point of the habits of which I have 
spoken. In the one case there was hence- 
forth a gradual deterioration — who is there 
who knows London well who cannot count 
up such mournful instances? — and in the 
other case, the man has burst away from the 
encircling chains, and has felt that he has 
been able to climb out of lonely h^ll. 

And not only are there such terrific mo- 
ments of conflict, but there are quiet, happy 
spots of life on which the mind's eye may 
rest evermore with freshness and rehef— 
green pastures and waters of comfort, to 
use that simple, touching emblem, with 
which the King of Israel recalled his boy- 
hood's shepherd life. The Caliph in the 


Story scored up eleven happy days. I 
wonder whether that eleven was in excess 
or in deficiency of the average. Such days 
of perfect bliss are altogether abnormal, and 
after a time we simply cease to expect 
them. The purple light of youth, the gay 
hues of romance and splendid possibi- 
lities die off into the light of common day. 
We know what life has to give, and what 
it cannot give. We cease to expect from 
travel, or variety, or adventure, anything 
that in any perceptible degree will mate- 
rially move and influence us. To some 
men the acquisition of knowledge and 
ideas ; to others, their advance in ma- 
terial prosperity; to others, the gradual 
purifying and strengthening of the inner life, 
becomes the great field wherein their powers 
and aspirations are to be exercised. But 
in the grey light of the long colourless after- 
noon it may delight at times to turn anew 
to the earlier pages of life, and recall those 
passages which gave emotions of delight 
and surprise ; those moments which summed 
up eras in the past, and proved starting-points 


for the future. It is a blessed provision of 
our nature that the mind forgets its sorrow 
and remembers its joy- Though the iron 
may enter into the soul, yet nature will 
heal those wounds, save for the memo- 
rial scar; and though the pillars of our 
hopes be shattered, yet around those broken 
bases there gather the wild flowers and the 
clinging moss, which veil deformity with 

I wonder whether a man might be allowed 
to quote himself. Thus it was some ten 
years ago that I wrote down some memorial 
thought or moments in life, calling them 
the ^ Sunday Evening,' referring to those 
quiet sacred hours which any man desiring 
to be wise would fain secure for himself, and 
which, often bring him into musing recol- 
lection of the past, and surely also of clear 
anticipations for the future. 

^ May I not, with a glad mind, thank God 
for many happy evenings, which for their 
outward charm, and their relation to the in- 
ward sacred history of the soul and mind, 
are to me as memorable as any most striking 


exterior event of life ? That evening, when 
through deepening twilight I passed on 
through Rydal and Grasmere — ^that glorious 
evening on Loch Katrine, when the rich gold 
of sunset mingled with the rich gold of au- 
tumn leaves, in the walk past Ellen's Isle — 
that evening, solitary and eventful, when from 
the casement of the ch&teau where I dwelt, I 
gazed on the broad Rhine, and the vine-clad 
heights — ^that evening when I first sailed the 
still waters of Lugano, or that when at mid- 
night I looked upon solemn Maggiore, or that 
when, having sailed down the Lake of Como, 
I came near and first beheld the noble Ca- 
thedral of Milan — that evening when, having 
wished the Superior of the hospice of the 
Simplon farewell, past crag and waterfall and 
piny forest I descended the precipitous pass — 
that evening when with kindly friends I 
floated past Venetian palaces, beneath skies of 
rare pale loveliness reflected on the Adriatic 
waters ! I remember, and evermore will re- 
member all these, and as a miser counts over 
jewels and gold in vacant hours, in the 
*' sessions of sweet, silent thought '' I surround 


myself with the unagery of these unforgotten 
things. But there are memories more precious 
still, and these are connected with English 
soil, and the English Sunday evening. 

* Let me too, then, have my hour of reveries, 
and let me now summon to memory two pure 
recollections of the Sunday evening. One 
shall be of summer in the country, and one of 
winter in our great city. 

* It is a country district, where the wild 
moorland is in some parts crowded by the 
dense population which our manufacturing 
genius has evoked ; where the scenery once was 
beautiful, and where strange gleams of beauty 
still interrupt the sordid and commonplace 
features of the landscape, by walk, by shaded 
brook, by tufted heights, by an expanse of 
fair water. The church, around which the 
roses in profusion cluster, and before which 
stretches the smooth, green, level sward, sanc- 
tifies and adorns the landscape. The late 
summer sun is slowly westering ; softly through 
the oriel windows the rays fall on the kneeling 
villagers, and fling a saint-Uke glory on some 
dear head. The cadence of a noble voice is 


heard in silvery tones, " Lighten our darkness, 
we beseech Thee, Lord;" and then the 
simple hymn, perchance, in which our large, 
and as yet unbroken, household circle join. 
Such is the memorial imagery of simple 
country days, before later years brought a 
wider knowledge, and a sadder wisdom. And 
now a glance at another Sunday evening in 
the new London life. I am in the precincts 
of the mighty Abbey. I leave my friends 
with whom I had been conversing, in the 
venerable close ; and, threading my way 
through the quiet cloisters, I pass through a 
side door, and suddenly a wondrous scene 
reveals itself to me. Jets of foliated gas 
emerge from the antique pillars, thousands 
throng the vast nave, the crash of massive 
music breaks forth, which resounds to the 
dim, unlighted recesses of the far east of the 
Minster. It is one of the earliest Sunday 
evening services in Westminster Abbey, that 
new feature in the ever-young life of the 
Church of England. You remember it, too, 
but perhaps you cannot have such associations 
with it as I have. And so it is that on these 


Sundays evenings both retrospect and antici- 
pation are busy. We think of our lost 
friends, of those who were once the most 
familiar forms in our daily life, who have now 
passed away, living now in other lands, and 
beneath other stars; perchance, ^^ by the long 
wash of Australasian seas;" or severed from 
us by inconstancy or falsehood, or misfortune, 
or even — a kinder separation — ^by the cold 
hand that has silenced the lip, and laid the 
finger on the eyelid, but has not left us with- 
out a hope. As Lord Herbert of Cherbury 
says, the brother of that great saint and poet 
George Herbert — in lines, the first example 
of that peculiar metre which *^ In Memoriam," 
has rendered so familiar:' — 

" These eyes again thine eyes shaU see, 
And hands again thine hands enfold, 
And all chaste pleasures to be told. 
Shall with us everlasting be." 

* That company of the loved and lost, which 
was at first so sparse, a two or three, — how the 
numbers increase, how the voices swell ! Like 
the sand in the hour glass, they hurry into 
the vacant space ; they leave us, our sweet 


friends ; they no longer are on our muster-roll ; 
as silent shadows they steal off into yonder 
ghostly camp. That hour is coming to us, 
my friends. Like a pilgrim, we every night 
pitch our tent a day's march nearer home. We 
know it well. For the last time we shall 
listen to those sweet vesper chimes, and for 
the last time watch the soft splendour of that 
setting sun. And then for us in years which 
we shall not see, some kindly friend, in me- 
lancholy musing some such hour as this, will 
have for us, perchance, that sorrowful recollec- 
tion which we ourselves extend to those who 
have " gone before.'' 

' Does this musing appear melancholy and 
regretful ? Not altogether such, I trust, for, 
in very truth, the musings* of Sunday evening 
have their lessons of calm, and hope, and con- 
solation. They should teach us to look back 
upon the past without regret, and forward to 
the future without a sigh. If our dead friends 
can still think and feel for us, at such an hour 
as this their eternal regards may be fixed on 
US. If there are ministering spirits who in 
angelic mission attend on us, at such an hour 

VOL. I. H 


we may listen to their heavenly whisperinga. 
That Eternal Spirit that strives with men, and 
would fain make their lives and deaths blissful, 
is tenderly pleading with the poor, erring 
human spirit, that still clings to the broken 
Imks of perishable thmgs. 

^It is now the Ave hour of the Sunday 
evening. Such is the hour to listen to the 
voice of God ; read some glorious page in 
which the burning hope of better things trans- 
lates sorrow into serenity. Such is the hour 
of prayer ; pray for your native land and for 
those you love, pray for forgiveness and for 
strength, pray for resolution to live a calm 
and Christian life, pray for those who have 
your sorrows without your hopes. And now 
to rehearse the last scene of all, by sinking 
into silence and forgetfulness. Yet for a 
moment pause. Withdraw the curtain, and 
view the large night looming in its wintry sky 
over this great London. See how the multi- 
tudinous stars come out, army upon army of 
the great hosts of heaven, and remember how 
the music of the herald angels of Bethlehem 
is stiU lingering upon our ears. May not our 




last thoughts be of the " many mansions " of 
our Father's house, of which eternal truth has 
assured us, and promised to seekers in them a 
home ? ' 

Bishop Latimer used to interrupt a discourse 
by saying, 'And now Til tell you a fable/ 
I will conclude this chapter by telling ft stoty 
of an Important Ten Minutes, which possesses 
the advantage of being quite true. 

Piccadilly was at its liveliest and busiest. 
The continuous London roar rolled steadily 
on. Carriages, horsemen, vehicles of all sorts 
hurried past. By Apsley House, at the en- 
trance to Hyde Park, the crush of carriages 
was especially great. Various glances were 
thrown at the historic mansion of * the Duke,' 
as all called his Grace of Wellington, as if 
there was no other, and never would be any 



other duke than that Duke. I imagine in that 
popular notion people were tolerably right. I 
am speaking of the days when the Duke was 
still living and at the summit of his popu- 
larity. Many, I say, were the glances at those 
iron-clad shutters which the Duke found it 
necessary to employ at the riotous times of 
the Reform Bill, and which he grimly re- 
tained as a lasting memento of popular favour. 
Among the pedestrians there was one whose 
especial business it was that morning to call 
upon the Duke of Wellington. He will 
enter Apsley House as a well known and 
honoured visitant. With very good reason 
will he be received as such. For Colonel 
Beckwith has long served under the Duke, 
and is an old Peninsular officer. He is dis- 
abled now — we see that he has lost a leg. 
Very proud indeed may he be of that honour- 
able loss. The limb was left at Waterloo, 
where the soldier had bravely fought for our 
English hearts and homes. 

The Colonel was shown into the library of 
Apsley House, and sat down. The Duke was 
very much engaged, but would see him pre- 


i \ 

sently . Could he wait ten minutes ? Colonel 
Beckwith resigned himself to the delay, arid 
waited for some ten minutes or a quarter of 
an hour. On those few minutes depended 
the multiplied events of many years. The 
Colonel, in after-life, used often to speak of 
that brief space of time as the turning crisis 
of his existence. 

Perhaps Colonel Beckwith had heard of a 
certain remarkable saying of Napoleon's, and, 
as an old soldier, had probably seen it realized. 
' Although a battle may last a whole day,' 
Napoleon used to say, ' there were generally 
some ten minutes in which the fate of the en- 
gagement was practically decided.' How often 
this is seen in life ! In the course of a few 
minutes some thought is conceived, some deed 
committed, which tinges the colour of the 
whole remainder of an existence. So it was 
to be now. 

Before I proceed with the narrative, I must 
stay to give one fact respecting the antecedent 
history of this honoured soldier. Without 
knowing it we should be at a loss to under- 
stand the circumstances that ensued. 


Colonel Beckwith was a truly religious 
man. He kept close to his religion with 
soldierly simplicity and good faith. After 
the great field of Waterloo, he had stayed in 
an invalided state at Brussels, a maimed and 
disabled man. Then it was that he read tKe 
Bible. He read it earnestly and diligently. 
Ah, how many of us require to be laid upon 
a bed of languor, before we will patiently give 
heed to those sacred pages ! General Beck- 
with — ^for he reached that rank — must have 
blessed this time, for it was then that he was 
brought to God. 

How should Colonel Beckwith spend the 
ten minutes during which he was to wait for 
the Great Duke? 

We have already said that he was in the 
library. It was therefore a natural step that 
he should walk up to the bookshelves. His 
eye carelessly wandered over the titles of the 
volumes. He put out his hand and took the 
first that offered. It was Gilly's ' Waldenses.' 
For ten minutes or more he was absorbed in 
the contents. Then a servant entered the 
library, and announced that the Duke would 


see him in the sitting-room. The illustrious 
chief and his distinguished subaltern then en- 
gaged in conversation, and shortly afterwards 
General Beckwith took his leave. 

The remembrance of what he had read 
during that ten minutes spent in the 
library haunted him. At least he accurately 
remembered the title of the volume, and could 
procure it at his bookseller's. He did so. 
Who was the author? A dignitary of the 
Church of England, the Very Rev. Dr. Gilly, 
Dean of Durham. He was so greatly excited 
that from reading this book he proceeded to 
read every other book connected with the sub- 
ject. For this purpose he ransacked every 
library he knew. Finally, was it not possible 
to become acquainted with Dr. Gilly, the 
author of that remarkable book which he had 
devoured so ardently in the library of Apsley 
House ? Certainly it was. There was no one 
whom the kind Dean would be better pleased 
to see than an old Waterloo soldier who 
wished to speak to him on his favourite sub- 
ject. They became great allies, and were 


both alike ever deeply interested in the Wal- 

Another thought now occurred to him. 
Why should he not cross the sea and the moun- 
tains, and go and see the Waldenses for him- 
self ; see for himself that beautiful scenery, 
and by this means conceive fully in his mind 
his impressions of that strange history? He 
was a man without any ties. The great wars 
were all over now. Europe was for ever safe 
from Napoleon, and the soldier's occupation 
was gone. His time and his means were en- 
tirely his own. He was unmarried, and we 
believe without near relatives. 

Accordingly, in the summer of 1827, he made 
his first visit. He was rather hampered with 
some engagements on this occasion, and made 
only a hurried stay of three or four days. 
Next year, however, he went again, and stayed 
three months ; the year following, six months. 
By-and-by he permanently established him- 
self at Torre. 

• ....•• 

Closely as General Beckwith was connected 
with the Waldenses, he became still more iden- 


tified with them. He took a wife from among 
the daughters of the people. He was then 
well stricken in years, and it might have been 
questioned how far the Alpine maiden would 
suit the aged English gentleman and soldier. 
But to use the words of old Isaac Walton, 
' the Eternal Lover of mankind made them 
happy in each other's mutual aflfection and 
compliance.' She was a village maid of humble 
origin, but well educated as education was ac- 
counted there, and he lived very happily with 
her during the remaining eleven years of his 
life. In these latter days he had a love for 
the sea that equalled his love for the moun- 
tains. He was fully aware of the important 
sanitary truth, how beneficial is a timely change 
of air and residence. The seaside residence 
which he selected was Calais. He went there 
so regularly and stayed so long, that it was 
even thought the coasts of fair France were 
estranging him from the valleys of Piedmont. 
We know not how far this may have been the 
case, but it is certain that in his last illness 
his aflFection for his Alpine home was in 
all the fullness of its strength. He knew 


that he was dying, and his hope was 
that he might die among the people. In ex- 
treme weakness he turned southward, and 
crossed the Alps, that he might lay his bones 
in beloved Torre. 

At Torre then, he gradually declined and died, ' 
amid the tears and blessings of an affectionate 
and grateful population. He left this world, 
July 19th, 1862. He lies buried in the church- 
yard of Torre, and for generations to come 
his tomb will be pointed out to the passing 
traveller. Some great Englishmen are lastingly 
identified with the Vaudois Protestants. 
Oliver Cromwell sent through his Latin sec- 
retary, John Milton, that famous despatch 
which expostulated on their behalf with the 
Duke of Savoy. 

King William the Third, in a treaty with 
Savoy, inserted terms which greatly amelio- 
rated their condition. But even more than 
the memory of the great Protector, even 
more than the memory of the great Protestant 
deliverer, will the memory of General Beck- 
with be cherished in these valleys. 
Assuredly his is the record of a great, simple. 


beneficent life ! And all this came to pass, 
as he often used to say, from the short time 
that he spent in looking over a book in the 
library of Apsley House, while waiting to see 
the Great Duke ! Certainly that was an im- 
portant ten minutes ! 




I ADD a few words especially on the subject of 
University careers, inasmuch as the University 
is to an immense number of men essentially a 
great turning-point in life, and because, when 
different schemes for University extension are 
developed and bear fruit, the Universities will 
become more than ever national institutions, 
and centres of intellectual life for the nation 
at large. I am hardly sanguine enough to 
believe that the time will ever return when, 
as in the days of Occam, some thirty thou- 
sand students will troop from all parts of the 
country to Oxford as the gateway of all 
knowledge. It is impossible to doubt that 
our Universities are now in a transition state. 
This is symbolised by the demolition and re- 


construction of the collegiate edifices them- 
selves during the last decade, by the new 
examinations that have been instituted, by 
the constitution, in either University, of the 
new class of unattached students, by schemes- 
for making the Universities schools for special 
study on the arts and sciences. If we could 
look into the Oxford or the Cambridge of the 
future, the eyes of the old University man, 
already sorely dazzled by changes outward 
and inward even now existing, might be- 
hold, not without infinite trepidation, an ex- 
pansion and metamorphosis of which his past 
experience could hardly suggest any idea. 
Any discussion of University life must relate 
chiefly to the historic aspect of the subject, 
and it may be that, with a proverbial slow- 
ness, we may linger long before the transition 
is accomplished; but a transition is in store 
for us, and we may hope that it will be for 
the best. 

In speaking of University careers, a great 
deal depends on the conception which we 
may form of academical success. Differences 
of opinion depend mainly on a single point. 


namely, whether a successful College career 
is regarded as a means to an end, or as an 
end in itself. The notion of a successful 
University career usually implies a First-class 
•knd a Fellowship ; and, as this involves a 
modestly substantial income and a not undis- 
tinguished social position, such a career is 
looked upon as a good thing, worthy to be 
sought for its own sake. With many persons, 
on the other hand, a College career, however 
brilliant, is only regarded as a step towards 
ulterior objects. The real aim is in the di- 
rection of the Church, Parliament, or the 
Bar, and a successful career at College is 
looked upon as a significant omen of the real 
success of after-life. There are many dis- 
tinguished men now living, whose names are 
familiar enough to those who habitually 
handle the ^ University Calendar/ who have 
amply justified any prognostics that might be 
drawn from early eminence. Christ Church 
has, pre-eminently, been the foster-parent of 
silch men; that ancient foundation having 
given to the world a long line of illustrious 
statesmen, who have entered the House of 


Commons with a brilliant prestige for scholar- 
ship and ability. High University honours 
comprise, however, so many advantages of a 
lucrative kind, that they excite a keen com- 
petition for them* among those with whom 
they are a natural object of desire. One 
result is that men enter the University at a 
somewhat later age than was formerly the 
case; they bring up a larger stock of know- 
ledge than they once used to do, and the 
standard of the honour-examination is pro- 
portionately raised. It was once possible for 
the same Cambridge man to obtain the 
highest place, both in mathematics and 
classics; but, we think, it was the late Baron 
Alderson, who was one of the very few re- 
markable men thus distinguished, who used 
to say that the system of examination is now 
so far extended that it is impossible for any 
human being to repeat this particular kind 
of success. Men at present run for the great 
University prizes under a regular training 
system, as complete and as scientific as any 
other system of prize competition. There is 
now established a regular migration from the 


Scottish to the English Universities. Men 
who have actually taken a Master of Arts de- 
gree at Edinburgh or Glasgow take the po 
sition of undergraduates who have only just 
discarded their jackets. Those who know 
anything of Balliol College; Oxford, or of St. 
Peter's College, Cambridge, are aware of the 
great extent to which this kind of thing is 
carried. Some hardship seems involved, by 
this system, on younger competitors ; but then 
older young men pay a penalty in being pro- 
portionately late starters in the great business 
of life. However, they often consider that 
they have satisfactorily performed that busi- 
ness if they have obtained that academical 
success which will guarantee them a modest 
permanent competence. 

The competition for educational honours 
and advantages, which has ordinarily been 
supposed, with justice, to commence at the 
University, in accordance with modern no- 
tions of competition, has been pushed back 
to a still earlier age. The advantages are so 
questionable that it is to be hoped that the 
system will not receive any further exten- 


sion. Great pecuniary advantages are now 
attainable by mere children at our great pub- 
lic schools. A very juvenile youngster may 
save his father many hundred pounds by 
gaining a place on the foundation of Eton or 
Winchester. While this is the case, we 
cannot but fear that forcing establishments 
will gain in parental estimation, and many a 
yoimg head and heart will be weighed down 
by a burden of too early thought and care. 
We question, also, if there is much real 
wisdom in playing a long game instead of a 
short game. The prematurely clever child 
who is extraordinarily successful at school, 
will probably be only an ordinary man, with 
no special success at College. In the same 
way, the extraordinarily clever man at Col- 
lege in many instances will subsequently 
shade off into a very insignificant kind of 
being for the rest of his life. Among the 
crowds of young men in the fast- fleeting gene- 
rations of the University, there are many 
who, by their force of ability, seconded by 
only moderate application, achieve the very 
highest degree of College success, and repeat 

VOL. I. I 


that success, on a still broader scale, in the 
world. But, beyond these instances, it ap- 
pears perfectly possible to crowd into a few 
years the intellectual labours of many years, 
and to impoverish and exhaust the mental 
soil by a system of unfairly high farming. 
Men are constantly met with who sweep the 
Universities of all the prizes which it is in 
the power of those great corporations to be- 
stow, and who find that their subsequent 
career can bear no kind of comparison with 
that brilliant early success. They have lost 
the fresh spring of youthful elasticity, the 
early ardour of intellectual exertion. The 
mind that has long run in a scholastic groove 
acquires a kind of mental inmiobility, and 
will not easily adapt itself to the untried 
career of an active professional life. Even 
zealous attempts to achieve something of the 
kind often prove real failures, and the Col- 
lege don who has tried to renew College 
success in politics or at the Bar, frequently 
falls back once more on the common-room 
or the combination-room, and takes his share 
in College tuition and the emoluments of 


■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ I I ■ ■ » ■ 


College offices. But the University career 
which, after all, is confined within the limits 
of the University, is not, perhaps, such an 
enviable kind of success that it should be 
constantly held up to the admiration and 
imitation of aU those who are starting on 
the race of life. 

Of course, here as elsewhere, we have to 
arbitrate between dififerent orders of men, 
and different kinds of successes. It is a 
great success when a man has won his way 
to the headship of his College, with a clear 
prospective eye to Bishopric or Deanery. It 
is no less a success when the poor scholar, 
after wading through difficult waters, has ob- 
tained a College Fellowship, and with grate- 
ful, contented mind, waits for his College 
Kving. His horizon may be narrow and 
bounded, but it is, at least, satisfactorily 
filled. Still, the College career, which is 
limited and bounded by College objects, is 
often fraught with melancholy considera- 
tions. A merely mercantile element is often 
introduced, which cannot be wholly deprived 
of a despicable character. We can hardjy 



sympathize with young men who are always 
eagerly calculating the value of Scholarships 
and Fellowships, and subordinate every study 
to the question whether it will pay ? Things 
are often bad enough at Oxford, but .at Cam- 
bridge an essentially ignoble system is pur- 
sued to a most deleterious extent. It is 
often the fault of parents, who tell their 
sons that they must look to the University 
as the main source of present and future 
subsistence. We have heard the case of a 
father who made his two sons handsome al- 
lowances, with the understanding that, after 
they took their degrees, they should entirely 
maintain themselves. We feel sure that 
nearly all our readers can recall similar in- 
stances. In this particular case, one of the 
sons went mad ; the other, with broken 
health, won a Fellowship, and, naturally, was 
on bad terms with his father ever afterwards. 
The training system at Cambridge is carried 
to as high a degree of perfection as any 
system of trainer and jockey can be carried. 
The Johnian stables are particularly cele- 
brated Every particular of diet, rest, and 


exercise is sedulously attended to. The reading 
man will look with the utmost abhorrence upon 
the feeding man, simply because the feeding 
will interfere with the reading. He will also 
look with the utmost contempt upon the 
man who dabbles in literature, or indulges 
in oratorical flights at the Union. He has 
no notion of indulging in any kind of intel- 
lectual pursuit which may. in the least degree, 
divert his brain from the lucrative objects 
on which it is fixed. He tramples down 
remorselessly any flowers of imagination or 
poetry which may appear in the fresh dawn 
of intellectual life. The success aimed at 
is, at last, achieved; we, of course, pass over 
the very many cases in which success has 
been aU but achieved, and grievous disap- 
pointment has been the result. The vic- 
torious student, in due time, subsides into a 
College don, who, in his own kind of way, is 
the most spoilt and pampered of men. But it 
is a condition of things in which an advance 
is not easily made, and where the first flush 
wears off into a dull kind of day. The 
undergraduate may admire the awful state 


of the don, but the don must often envy 
the elasticitj'^ and freshness of the undergra- 
duate. Year by year the resident don finds 
the Ust of his friends narrowing within an 
ever narrowing circle. He may enjoy travel 
and society, but there is the corroding recol- 
lection that he is linked to his College 
position, and if that is abandoned, he will 
have to begin life over again. The men 
whose injudicious oratory and literature he 
despised, in the meantime are, perhaps, ob- 
taining name and position in public life. Very 
often the don takes a College living, when 
it is no secret that he has but scanty sym- 
pathy with the sacred work to which he is 
devoting himself. 

It is a common thing that, when such a 
man has attained all that the University can 
give him, he is seized with an exaggerated 
and morbid desire to get married. It must 
be owned that there is much in his sur- 
roundings to encourage this excessive ten- 
dency towards connubiality. All material 
wants are amply satisfied. The Fellows live 
and rule like petty kings. Every day the 


high table is sumptuously spread for them, 
without any effort on their part ; and costly 
refections, from buttery and kitchen, are 
ready at any moment. The Fellow lives 
in comparative luxury and idleness; he is 
surroimded with pictures, and poetry, and 
art; he is often sensitive, susceptible, and 
imaginative, to the highest degree. We 
have very rarely known a Fellow of a Col- 
lege who was not more or less anxious to 
get married. Generally, also, these Fellows 
are in the predicament of waiting for dead 
men's shoes, eagerly expecting the lapse of 
the College living which will enable them to 
marry. At the present time, the wonderful 
era has arrived when Fellows of College are 
allowed to marry. This innovation was 
looked upon by the old school as being of the 
most alarming kind ; and, certainly, there is 
something revolutionary in the spectacle of the 
venerated College grass-plat being converted 
into a croquet ground by the wives of the 
Fellows and their feminine belongings. Still, 
hitherto, such Fellowships have almost en- 
tirely, or entirely, been held by those who 


are Professors, or whose services have been 
found to be absolutely necessary in carrying 
on the work of College tuition ; and it is 
not at all probable that such a permission 
will be generally accorded to Fellows. One 
effect of such regulations would be that there 
would be fewer vacancies in Fellowships, and 
the chances of a successful University career 
would be materiaUy abridged. From this 
enforced celibacy, or other causes. Fellows of 
Colleges are often restless, disappointed men ; 
and, truly, the grand University success often 
turns out to be not much better than a failure 
and a mistake. 

StiU, after aUowing for all these drawbacks, 
there is a worse kind of University career. 
There are University careers which fatally 
progress backwards. A University man can 
exemplify, to any extent, the art of sinking. 
For many natures the University is a fiery 
crucible, which searches out destructively 
worthlessness and vice. It is a trial for a 
young man to find himself suddenly in im- 
limited credit at the wine merchant's and 
confectioner's, and with fall power to gratify 


any baneful thought of self-indulgence with 
which he is familiar. The defences which 
surround him are, ordinarily, very slight. 
The College tutor, who is sometimes depicted 
as watching over his morals and endeavour- 
ing to exercise on his behalf a legitimate 
influence for good, is a being who is not 
ordinarily to be discovered in real life. The 
undergraduate is generally left to the bro- 
therly agency of the proctor and his bulldogs. 
If a man is viciously disposed, the descent 
to Avernus is as easy as possible for him. 
A little social or home influence would be a 
good thing for him, but general society is 
limited at Oxford and Cambridge, and only a 
small minority of men make their way to 
it. As it is, the man whose career is of a 
downward tendency speedily familiarizes him- 
self with the best provincial imitations of 
metropolitan vice. This kind of career need 
not be dwelt upon, for it has been often 
described by that numerous tribe, the writers 
of University stories, and, unhappUy, is only 
too familiar in ordinary experience. We have 
already said something on this sad subject. 


There are very few families who, in the rami- 
fications of relationship and connections, can- 
not count up a few black sheep. The Oxford 
credit system has much to answer for, but 
it has still some good points. It sometimes 
supplies a poor scholar with absolute neces- 
saries, for which he was unable to pay at the 
time, and without which he could scarcely 
have passed through College. It is also to 
be said, to the ultimate credit both of gra- 
duate honesty and the sleuth-hound vigilance 
of tradesmen, that, comparatively speaking, 
only few bad debts are made at Oxford and 
Cambridge. There is a whole army of 
lawyers, agents, and collectors, a column 
whose insidious advances are screened from 
observation till the moment of attack. We 
question, however, if mere indebtedness is 
the general cause of the social tragedy of a 
downward College career. That must gene- 
rally be an enormous profligacy and folly at 
College when, subsequently, a crooked career 
can by no means be made straight, nor 
recover itself through honest exertion and 
the help of friends. That must be an almost 


unmixed process of deterioration which, as 
the goal of a career, leaves a University man, 
as is sometimes the case, in the position of a 
billiard-marker or driver of a Hansom cab. 

It might be imagined that men who have 
really achieved a career at the University, 
and won its substantial honours, would be 
in the best possible position for winning 
further distinction. They have gained the 
vantage-ground from which they may best 
advance, and are furnished with the instru- 
ments with which they may best compete. 
They have attained so much that they are 
full of hope, and there is so much to be 
attained that they should be ftill of effort. 
An assured, moderate provision, with a really 
good chance of obtaining still better things, 
has been defined as the happiest position in 
itself, and furnishing the best incentive for 
exertion. Theoretically, this may be the 
case, but, practically, it is not found to work 
so. We do not, in any degree, desire to 
speak disparagingly of Fellowships. It must, 
also, be specially remembered that the system 
of flinging the Oriel Fellowships open to the 


world proved the inauguration of better days 
for Oxford, and was of the greatest ' moment ' 
to the University. Still, the competition is 
so keen, the strain so heavy and protracted, 
that men too often sacrifice the present for 
the future, and forget that a University 
career is not the only, nor yet the best, 
chance in life. Any University career, also, 
however apparently successful, is only maimed 
and incomplete that does not include a fair 
share of the social advantages of the Uni- 
versity. It is the glory of Oxford and Cam- 
bridge that they not only make scholars, but 
that they make gentlemen and make men. 
Every man should seek to avail himself of 
the intellectual culture of the University; 
and there are now so many avenues to dis- 
tinction that he must, indeed, be a dullard 
who despairs of making any appearance in 
any class-list. But it is something also to 
' catch the blossom of the flying terms ; ' 
something to make the friends and build 
up the character which are to stand a man 
in good stead in his after life. We do not 
stay to dwell much on this aspect of matters, 


but he who has done thus much, and, while 
studying, can afford to look with equanimity 
on material success, whether it comes or 
goes, has really hit the golden mean, and 
pursued the kind of career which, if not the 
most distinguished, is, at least, the happiest 
and most salutary. 

There is no subject more frequently de- 
bated than the comparative merits of the 
two Universities, and none where the chance 
of unanimity is so doubtful or hopeless. The 
Oxford or Cambridge man who is susceptible 
of being argued into the conviction that the 
sister University is superior to his own alma 
mater is as rare as the knight of romance, 
who, while championing the peerless beauty 
of his love, might avow that he was prepared 
to give an enlightened consideration to the 
possibly superior charms of some other com- 
petitor for the title of Queen of Beauty. It 
is right to argue and contend, but there is 
disloyalty or treason in the very thought that 
the argument can have more than one con- 
clusion. It generally ends with the dogmatic 
statement that the arguer is positive that he 


— i^ I ■ BT I -* - . ■ - - - 

i8 in the right, and an offer to back either 
the light blue or the dark blue, as the case 
may be, to any conceivable extent, for the nojxt 
boat race. There are a few persons, not many 
— the late Mr. Maurice furnished us with a re- 
markable example — who have studied at both 
Universities, and may be supposed to possess 
better materials for forming a judgment, and 
a certain degree of impartiality. But even 
with these the tide of personal associations, 
from the influence of which the most philoso- 
phical are rarely able to extricate themselves, 
sets decidedly in a particular direction. And, 
indeed, as soon as we have gone at all tho- 
roughly into the discussion, we perceive that 
other reasons, besides an affectionate spirit 
of partisanship, render a decision exceedingly 
difficult. For ourselves, we confess to our 
inability to strike a clear balance ; but though 
we cannot hope to settle the general question, 
there are many points on which it is quite 
easy to arbitrate, that may satisfy a man, not, 
indeed, as to which is the best University, 
considered on the absolute merits, but which 
is the best for him. It is to be regretted that 


a considerable number of men go up to the 
University without much careful consideration 
of this preliminary question. The matter 
ought to be settled on more definite grounds 
than that your father or uncle was there 
before you, or that your favourite school- 
fellow has gone to such a College. It is not 
unusual to meet with an Oxford man whose 
friends tell him that he ought to have gone 
to Cambridge, nor yet with the Cambridge 
man who will admit that, from all he has 
since learned, he believes that Oxford would 
have been the preferable University for him. 
In selecting a University, as in the more 
important matter of choosing a profession, 
there should be a due measure of inquiry and 

In very many cases, indeed, the incipient 
undergraduate follows a probably safe tradi- 
tion. There is a legal and historical connec- 
tion between some great schools and some 
great Colleges, and there is also an undefined, 
but, at the same time, very strong, cennection* 
between Eton and Christ Church, which has 
become illustrious through the many great 


statesmen educated on the two foundations. 
But if a man does not feel — to employ the 
language of the bidding prayer — ' in private 
duty bound ' to resort to a particular College, 
he is then open to considerations on the 
general question. These considerations chiefly 
have respect to the nature of his training and 
the character of his mind. If, for instance, 
he is mathematically inclined, and desires that 
his mathematical powers should bring him 
reputation and profit, it is clear that Cam- 
bridge is the place for him, and Oxford is 
not. There are mathematical class-lists at 
Oxford in which, no doubt, men of remark- 
able attainments have been placed. But 
mathematical honours at Oxford have not 
the same ascertained and precise value as at 
Cambridge. A man may be a first class in 
mathematics at Oxford, and be as good a 
mathematician as a senior wrangler, and yet 
he would gain hardly anything of the credit 
and advantage which the senior wrangler 
achieves. There is no diflSculty in speaking 
on the subject of mathematical honours, but 
when we go further we become conscious of 


considerable difficulties. This has been such 
a revolutionary era at the universities, that 
if a man has left Oxford only a few years 
he finds it difficult to speak with certainty 
of the comparative value of its academic 
distinctions. We confess we feel great sym- 
pathy with the elders who maintain as un- 
challengeable the value of the old Oxford 
first, before it was broken up mto the first 
and second public examinations. The result 
has been the deterioration of exact scholarship 
at Oxford, but, at the same time, the lending 
an impulse to the higher and more difficult 
subjects, which demand a close acquaintance 
with the ancient historians and philosophers, 
and the cognate literature. The first result 
of this was that most public schoolmen chiefly 
confined their attention to the moderations 
examination. It is now, however, unceas- 
ingly felt that the second public examination 
answers most, upon the whole, to the old first 
class, and has a greater substantive value; 
and that men who devote themselves ex- 
clusively to languages are hardly sufficiently 
rewarded by the intermediate honours of 



■ ■-•■■ 

moderations. It is also to be noted, that at 
Oxford a man may attain the highest classical 
honours, either in moderations or in the final 
examination, without writing a single Une 
either of Greek or Latin verse. We suppose 
that it would be impossible for a Cambridge 
man to obtain even a low second class without 
a considerable mastery of this accomplish- 
tnent. The old saying used to be, that Cam- 
bridge excelled in mathematics, and Oxford 
in classics. It may still be claimed that 
Oxford classmen have the thorough and 
accurate knowledge of the books which they 
bring up, which, though it may at times be 
reached at Cambridge, has probably never 
been surpassed. But we believe that there 
can be scarcely any doubt but the palm of 
verbal scholarship in England now rather 
rests with the Cambridge classical tripos than 
with any Oxford class-list. If these facts are 
so, thp general result seems to be, that if a 
•man is born with an instinct for writing 
Greek iambics or Latin elegiacs, or has 
developed remarkable taste in the direction 
of the ' Cratylus,' he will find the best field 


for classics in the examination for the tripos. 
But then, again, it is claimed on behalf of 
Oxford, that she advances towards a point 
which is far beyond the contemplation of 
the Cambridge system. Having satisfied 
herself that the candidates possess a thorough 
and critical knowledge of the languages, she 
proceeds to give chief attention to the subject- 
matter of the books, and to mental science. 
It may almost be said that Oxford has here 
taken the place of Cambridge. The original 
Cambridge wrangling^ which has given its 
name to the mathematical examination, has 
altogether disappeared from Cambridge, but 
is reproduced very exactly at Oxford. Men 
may no longer discuss, and reason, and dis- 
pute at Cambridge, unless, indeed, for a 
degree of divinity; but there is a very 
remarkable tincture of all this in the Oxford 
final examination. The ancient historians 
bring up the whole subject of history, the 
ancient philosophers the subjects of ethical 
and metaphysical science. Nor is this 
knowledge of a wordy and barren kind. It 
is true that the Oxford student has studied 

K 2 


for himself the * Organon ' of Aristotle, but he 
has also the 'Novum Organon ' at his fingers' 
end, and is as well read in Comte and Mill 
as the most zealous reader of the Westminster. 
Thus, whne insisting upon a high order of 
scholarship for her superior classes, the Ox- 
ford system especially encourages thought, 
research, originality, fosters the historical 
and philosophical* spirit, and exercises the 
highest mental powers, rather than makes 
any extraordinary demand upon the memory 
and upon mere acuteness. In this way the 
old Cambridge wrangling element is a con- 
stant force at Oxford, not absent from the 
schools, and always pervading society. Ox- 
ford is the scene of incessant discussion, the 
place of ventilation for all new ideas. The 
old proverb, much quoted lately, is true 
enough, that any subject ardently debated 
at Oxford will be discussed all over the 
kingdom in the course of a few months. It 
is noticeable, as symptomatic of this, that 
the volume of * Reform Essays ' is mainly by 
Oxford men, with only a slight admixture 
or^ Cambridge men, and, very possibly, a 



larger and better volume by other men 
holding other views might be easily put 
forth. Cambridge has, doubtless, many cul- 
tivated men who take a vivid interest in 
intellectual discussion ; but this is quite 
apart from the University system; while at 
Oxford it is in perfect accordance with it. 
The establishment of the School of Law 
and Modern History, an institution peculiar 
to Oxford, has also done good service in 
fostering a spirit of historical, inquiry, and 
bringing Oxford into accordance with the 
exigencies of modem education. It is notice- 
able that Christ Church, beyond any other 
College, has been honourably distinguished 
in the historical class-lists. Perhaps we 
should not be wrong in saying that Cam- 
bridge will best supply us with schoolmasters 
and Oxford with statesmen. For syste- 
matical labour, critical accuracy, sheer work, 
and more remunerative honours, we believe 
that an obvious supremacy rests with Cam- 
bridge. But for a wider and deeper training, 
for the real education and development of the 
higher faculties, for the more genuine tincture 


of all that is implied by the expression Liter ce 
Humaniores^ there is reason for believing that 
the palm belongs to the elder University. 

In the friendly comparison between Ox- 
ford and Cambridge a number of smaller 
matters arise, most pf which would be 
chiefly worth noticing for the sake of the 
comparison, although their aggregate value 
would be not inconsiderable. Thus the 
Oxford freshmen must at once occupy rooms 
in College, and only at a late period they go 
into lodgings. On the other hand, the Cam- 
bridge freshman goes into lodgings, and 
subsequently obtains College rooms. The 
Cambridge man puts the plain name, but the 
Oxford man is in this, and other respects, 
a little more stately. The Cambridge don is 
generally exceedingly donnish ; the Oxford 
don is exceedingly frank and familiar to 
the younger men with whom he is brought 
in contact. At Cambridge there is an odious 
expression coastantly on the lips of reading 
men, which least becomes young men and 
votaries of knowledge, whether each course 
of reading will pay. The expression is well 


known at Oxford, but by no means prevails 
to the same extent. We like the Oxford 
plan of grouping the names of men in the 
same class alphabetically better than the 
graduated Cambridge system, as more gener- 
ous in itself and lessenino: the unavoidable 
drawbacks that attend emulation and com- 
petition. Mr. Kingsley has, with some ran- 
cour, insisted that Cambridge men have a 
chivalry of their own towards women, in 
which Oxford men are painfully deficient. It 
would be interesting to ascertain on what 
actual facts Mr. Kingsley bases his conclu- 
sion; we have not ourselves found that cir- 
cumstances point in this direction. One fact 
should be noted, which is very much in 
favour of the University of Cambridge. At 
Cambridge every other man you meet is a 
reading man, at Oxford barely one man in 
four deserves that title. This state of things 
is greatly to be regretted, because the Uni- 
versity curriculum at Oxford, apart from 
honours, does not give much work for any 
man of average intelligence, and there are 
so many avenues of distinction that most 


men should do something in the schools. 
Coming to the practical matter of expendi- 
tm*e, the expense of tutors is about a third 
more at Oxford than at Cambridge, and on 
a rough calculation the Oxford expenses are 
perhaps a third more than the Cambridge 
expenses. There are separate items in which 
Oxford is the less expensive of the two ; thus 
the rooms are perhaps better, with the rent 
lower; but matters, on the whole, are some- 
what on a more expensive scale. A man 
very often goes to Cambridge to make money, 
when he goes to Oxford to spend money. 
The debate will certainly be extended into 
a comparisgn of the scenic beauty which 
belongs to the respective localities. There 
is something absolutely unapproachable in 
the extreme beauty of the ' backs ' of Colleges 
when the Cam steals between frequent arches, 
and groves, and lawns, beneath the shadows 
of venerable edifices. Neither is there any 
Oxford chapel which is the equal of King's 
College Chapel. Nevertheless, the view of 
Oxford, with its multiplicity of stately build- 
ings, amid waters and gardens, ftdly realizes 



Wordsworth's epithet of * overpowering.' The 
city is altogether on a wider and grander 
scale, and the girdle of surrounding coun- 
try possesses a greater degree of in- 
terest. If from this we proceed to examine 
the muster-rolls of illustrious names, the two 
Universities will poll man for man with 
much rapidity; but the great names of Bacon 
and Newton, Milton and Jeremy Taylor, 
invest Cambridge with peculiarly majestic 

It is impossible that any comparison can 
give us an undoubted result, because the 
terms have no common denominator. A 
man may easily decide which University is 
the best for him, but he will find it impos- 
sible to decide which University is best in 
itself. If England only possessed one, her 
educational system would show great draw- 
backs; but, in the diversities of the two, 
each supplements the other, and aflFords the 
nutriment that is best suited for particular 
orders of mind and variety of circumstance. 
One of the most thoughtful and accurate of 
modem observers, M. Taine, in his Histoire 


de la Litterature anglaise^ has words respect- 
ing Oxford which apply equally to Cambridge 
— the truth of which we trust we shall never 
forfeit. — that it affords ' traces of the practical 
good sense which has accomplished revolu- 
tions without committing ravages ; which, 
while improving everything, has destroyed 
nothing; which has preserved its trees as its 
constitution, pruning out the old branches 
without felling the trunk, and now, alone 
among the nations, enjoys not only the 
present, but the past.' 

But now there threaten to come upon Oxford 
and Cambridge a mighty battalion of men who 
have hitherto been seen only in casual detach- 
ments. This is the army of poor scholars. We 
rejoice to believe that their advent has now 
really been heralded. When a system of 
national education has been thoroughly orga- 
nized, we may hope that the district schools will 
draught off their best scholars, and the endowed 
schools will, as a matter of course, send their 
best scholars to the Universities. We hope 
there will be a golden academical age, in which 
insufficiency of means will never prevent a 



iDright, good youth from going to College. 
The tendency of poor men at present is to go 
to Cambridge. At Cambridge the Colleges 
are very rich, while the University itself is 
poor ; while the University of Oxford is very 
rich, while the Colleges are not so rich as those 
of Cambridge. If Mr. Rogers's calculations 
are correct, the University of Oxford will before 
long be enormously wealthy, and vast funds 
may be utilized for the purposes of education. 
At Cambridge a considerable number of men 
receive through College emoluments a large 
measure of help in their course, and indeed 
often obtain what may be called an academi- 
cal subsistence. An immense sum is yearly 
given away, bestowed with the most scrupu- 
lous fairness. Indeed any man by very shin- 
ing ability and attainments may make good 
his footing at either University through the 
open scholarships. But beyond these there 
are many men of great powers of mind who 
nevertheless could not hope to be successful 
in a College competition, through not having 
enjoyed the thorough training which public 
schools or skilful labour have given to their 


antagonists. Many of the best men at Oxford 
have obtained very poor degrees. And beyond 
these there is the great want felt in the Church 
of young men to take holy orders, for whom 
scholarship and ability are not so requisite as 
devotedness of character and special adapt- 
ability for their work. It is here that such an 
institution as Keble College especially finds its 
place, in meeting an acknowledged need, and 
filling a vacant niche in the University system. 
The system of unattached students also meets 
this need, and in a somewhat wider way. For 
it meets the wants not only of young men who 
purpose to take orders, but of all those who in 
any way desire to train and equip themselves 
for intellectual life. It may be said that such 
students lose the advantage of associating with 
other young men of the University. The loss 
is certainly not entirely on their side. It 
would be well for the indolent and luxurious 
section of our Universities to be brought into 
close contact with a plainer living, a greater 
industry, and a more robust understanding 
than their own. The loss of Oxford society 
might be a sensible loss, but it might be more 



than compensated by habits of frugality, self- 
denial, and foresight, and the acquisition of 
sterling qualities which might adorn a larger 
society hereafter. 

We therefore look forward to an immense 
development of our University system. In 
the administration of vast funds it will be 
hoped that the founders' intentions of encourag- 
ing probity, industry, and religion will re- 
ceive distinct attention, instead of competi- 
tion being strictly limited to a place in the 
examination. We may trust that the Univer- 
sities will duly exhibit and duly foster the 
best young intellectual life of the country. The 
immense appliances of professoriates, libraries, 
and museums might be utilised for special 
ends. There can be no reason why there 
should not be great medical schools at Oxford 
and Cambridge, as much as at the sister Univer- 
sities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Perhaps it is 
not too much to hope that men taking orders 
should proceed on the Pauline principle of 
learning a trade, and should at the medical 
school qualify themselves to act as physicians 
for the body as well as physicians for the soul. 


We are sure that no man has ever yet gone to 
the University, or at least has truly used it, 
without feeling that to go there was indeed a 
moment, an era, a turning-point in his life, and 
desiring the extension of such blessings to the 
largest possible number of his countrymen, 
unless he indeed belong to those against whom 
the reproach was divinely given, that they 
had the key of knowledge, that they entered 
not in themselves, and that those who were 
;entering in they hindered. 

That is a real moment in life when first at 
Cambridge a man has gazed on the stately line 
of Colleges nearer him, or has paced the Broad 
Walk of Oxford to the marge of the ' lilied 
Cherwell,' and the matchless tower of Mag- 
dalen, He who has worshipped in the gorgeous 
fanes, or studied in the antique libraries of 
either University, or has first listened or 
studied under the great leaders of modem 
thought and scholarship in their lecture rooms, 
or has joined in the actual intellectual stir and 
strife of the place, or has formed here a first 
high tone of tastes and companionship, or has 
realised the ennobling memories and associa- 


tions which surround him, will not fail to look 
back on his sojourn as days among the most 
momentous of all days, and thinking of the 
University will breathe a prayer as for the 
Zion of one's youth, that peace may be within 
her walls, and prosperity within her palaces. 




The question of the choice of a profession is 
intensely important, and the choice is a veri- 
table turning-point. It ought carefully to be 
kept in view for years in advance. Life is 
very like a battle or a game of chess, and there 
ought to be some plan of the campaign. These 
are especially days in which a man must make 
up his mind to be something. Men will go to 
the army or to the Bar if only that they may 
be able to give the world some account of 
themselves. Those few men who do not enter, 
a profession belong to a class which has the 
leisure and independence conferred by the 
possession of means and position, a class which 
has great duties imposed on it, and is so a 
profession in itself. A wise parent will watch 


his child carefully to see what his bias or ten- 
dency may be. Dr. Johnson has defined genius 
as strong natural talent accidentally directed 
in a particular direction. To say the least, 
this definition is not exhaustive. Great natural 
ability will doubtless enable a man to excel 
in almost any direction, but genius more or- 
dinarily supposes a combination of abilities in 
a special direction. I believe a great deal is 
done in a child's education if you can discover 
a bias, and give shape and direction to it. Of 
course the preferences of youth are often 
imaginary, and are often subjected to revi- 
sion. Still it is a great thing to get a lad to feel 
a distinct preference for any pursuit, to map out, 
even in outline, anything like a chart of the fu- 
ture. It is pre-eminently the misfortune of the 
present day that so many young men are de- 
void of enthusiasm and have no object in life. 
Let, however, a few words be said here 
which may assuage some anxious thoughts. I 
do not think that it really matters whether a 
young fellow has shining abilities or not. Of 
course there are some branches of life for which 
a man should have strong abilities and a strong 

VOL. I. L 



bias if he would indulge with fairness any high 
expectations of success. Such is authorship as a 
profession, or the artist's calling. The most 
money-getting departments of human life are 
those in which shining ability is not so much 
required as probity and common sense. In most 
departments of life we have nothing more to 
expect than the manfiil performance of duty 
and its competent discharge. If a boy is not 
clever this is a hint from nature to the parents 
not to assign him a path of life where superla- 
tive excellence is required with a view to suc- 
cess, but to find him an avocation amid the 

Girdles of tlie middle mountain, happj realms of fruit and 

flower ; 
Distant from ignoble weakness, distant from the Height of 


At the same time it is exceedingly diflScult 
for parents to decide rightly on the question 
of the capacity of their children. Much misery 
is caused when a father thinks his son a fool 
and does not hesitate to tell him so. Again, 
if a son is found not to be doing well in any 
particular walk of life, that is simply a sign 
that there is some other walk in life in which 


he will probably do exceedingly well. There 
is the story of a father who found that his 
son was a great failure as a midshipman. He 
immediately concluded he would do very well 
as a lawyer, and as a lawyer he rose to the 
top of his profession. 

Let us now rapidly review a man's chances 
in a profession. Take first of all the Church, a 
profession which lies outside other professions^ 
which is sometimes entered from the highest 
motives alone, sometimes from very low mo- 
tives, and sometimes from mixed motives. A 
few words may here be added to what we have 
already said on the subject. There are those 
(the Sunt qui phrase which we so often have 
to use) who enter the Church because there is 
some valuable old ancestral living in stor^. 
The modern form of this abuse is that a worthy 
parent invests his savings for a son in a Chan- 
cellor's living, which on the whole yields a 
very fair return as an investment, to which 
the young man succeeds in due course after 
the process of waiting for a dead man's slip- 
pers. Then there are many young men who 
are easily persuaded or persuade themselves 




to enter the Church is a fitting conclusion to a 
collegiate career. To a man who has taken 
his degree the Church is a profession easier of 
access than any other, and unlike any other 
yields immediately a modest income and a 
good social status. 

The existence of a sordid element is a re- 
proach and weakness of the Church. It is to 
be hoped that something in time may be 
done to remedy such a state of affairs; the 
remedy must chiefly be sought in the increased 
sense of responsibility among patrons and 
young men, and perhaps in some enactment that 
only curates of seven years' standing should be 
appointed to livings of a certain amount of 
value and population. Only a feeling of simple 
regard and reverence can exist for those who, 
urged by the loftiest motives irrespective of 
earthly considerations, devote themselves to 
their heavenly Master's work. And, taking 
human nature as it is, we will not think 
harshly of any who adopt this line of life, if 
only amid their mixed motives we recognise 
a humble and hearty desire to do good in the 
cause and service of Christ. Still it is of the 


utmost importance that the worldly aspect of 
the Church should be put clearly and honestly 
before those who from their inexperience are 
no judges of the position of life and the 
worldly chances of the minister of religion. 
Of those chances, unless in the case of a family 
living, or if commanding influence, very little 
can be said. If a man has a fervent desire for 
the ministry, let any father be very careful 
before he dares to interpose obstacles. But 
it is the father's duty clearly to put before his 
son that secular view of the matter which the 
son from his inexperience might be incompe- 
tent to understand. 

He will tell him, therefore, that his average 
pay as a curate will be a hundred a year, or 
one pound eighteen and fivepence a week. He 
will also explain to him that his length of ser- 
vice in the Churqh will for many years be of 
no use, and will afterwards operate as a dis- 
qualification. He will tell him that any prefer- 
ment might just as well come in his first year 
or his fifteenth, or that it may not come at all. 
He will explain that the more earnestly and 
singly a man applies to his work the less likely 


is he to make friends, to move about in the 
world, to form a literary or scholastic connec- 
tion. It is quite true that eloquent and clever 
men may possibly make their way to the front 
and obtain recognition and reward. But it is a 
lottery even with them, and the average hard- 
working curate has barely a chance. His 
bishop will probably be willing to do some- 
thing for him, but the patronage of a bishop 
is very limited compared to the number of 
claimants. The endowments, provided at a 
time when the country was poor and the 
population thin, are utterly inadequate to a 
time when the country is populous and enor- 
mously wealthy. It might therefore be 
thought that the obligations devolved by the 
Bible upon each generation of Christians to- 
wards each generation of ministers would 
be recognised, and that voluntary efforts 
would make up for the inadequate endow- 
ments of poor incumbents and the non-existent 
endowments of poorer curates. It would 
have to be explained, however, that though 
this may be the case in some instances, there 
is not enough liberality and Christian obedi- 


ence in the laity of the English Church to 
create any regular system of the kind, and 
that the scheme of a Sustentation Fund is un- 
known to the English Church. Moreover, 
the curate, as bred in gentle ways and un- 
versed in the affairs of the world, will espe- 
cially have to guard against the temptation to 
marriage and the meshes of debt. 

One remedy for this state of things would 
be that the public patronage of the country 
now vested in the Premier and the Lord 
Chancellor should not be left to their indi- 
vidual caprices, but be administered according 
to intelligible principles. Another and larger 
remedy would be that the area of work in 
which the clergy may occupy themselves 
should be indefinitely enlarged. There ap- 
pears to be no valid objection why the clergy 
should not practise as doctors or surgeons. 
It is to be hoped that some corporate action 
will be taken in the matter, that some clerical 
school of medicine will be established. I also 
see no reason why those curates of the Estab- 
lishment who may not be fit for intellectual 
wQrk, or may not be able to find a market for 


it, should not enter into some kind of business. 
The apostle St. Paul was a tent-maker. I 
believe there is still a great deal . of business 
done in tent-making, and should we be in- 
volved in war by-and-by, to purge us from 
our sins, there wjll doubtless be a great deal 
more. There should be some clerical tent- 
making company formed. It is better for 
clergymen to be employed in any sort of way 
than to cause scandal by running in debt. 

I do not see that the Dissenting clergy, \vith 
all their boasts of the voluntary system, are 
really any better. At least we hear very great 
complaints, not ill-founded, of narrow income, 
and it has been the business of a whole class 
of able writers to acquaint us with the short- 
comings of the Dissenting ministerial position. 
The contrast seems to fail in the very point 
where it might seem most telling. It is true 
that an able man in full work who might be 
receiving four or five hundred a year among the 
Dissenters might only be getting a quarter of 
that in the Establishment. But the Dissenting 
Boanerges when he becomes old has probably 
only a very limited retirement allowance, while 


the Anglican who has worked hard on a scanty 
remuneration most of his days, may in the 
evening of life find these conditions reversed ; 
a good living and a very moderate population. 
Let us now look at other businesses and 
professions. In nearly all of them the words of 
the poet are true — * All the gates are thronged 
with suitors, all the markets overflow.' Take 
the Bar. A man of real ability may have very 
long to wait, and the waiting process is a very 
costly one. It can hardly be done without a 
modest independent income by anyone who 
would obey the great legal injunction, 'to 
bear the port and carriage of a gentleman.' 
Persevere, read hard, attend the courts, stick 
close when not in attendance on them to your 
chambers ; don't even shrink fi-om familiarising 
yourself with the business of an attorney's 
office — so an ' old stager ' would say to a be- 
ginner, and you will at least deserve success, 
and in all probability you will attain it. Still 
I am afraid that to deserve success and to 
attain it are hardly synonymous terms. In 
all professions there is a vast mass of educated 
mediocrity that can do its work very respect- 


ably, but in every department positive ex- 
cellence and pre-eminence is required, and 
this is exceedingly rSre. Law is a luxury 
of civilisation, and people who have a taste 
for luxuries like the most fashionable and the 

We confess to a tender feeling — one of 
peculiar sympathy and appreciation — for 
briefless barristers. So far as we can see, 
they are quite as clever, and a great deal 
more amiable and amusing, than barristers 
with endless briefs. The general notion is, 
that our briefless friend is a man of genius 
and culture, waiting for the chance which 
laggard fortune is so slow in giving him. If 
he only had the chance, it would be the 
Archimedes' lever which would enable him 
to move the legal world, and grasp the seals. 
It rather militates against this idea, that 
many briefless barristers are such of set pur- 
pose, and would be infinitely dismayed if 
briefs, and the chance of legal greatness, were 
thrust upon them. They have gone to the 
Bar, as the most gentlemanly of professions, 
and as giving them a kind of status which it 


is worth while acquiring. In England we 
have a prejudice in favour of a man's having 
a definite profession; and unless his name 
is a guarantee for wealth or territory, we 
credit the idle man with being more or less 
of a vagabond. The status of a barrister is 
an ' undeniable ' one, neither is it particularly- 
expensive, especially if the sham is acknow- 
ledged from the first, and there is no pretence 
of reading in a pleader's room. Again, many 
men become barristers who do not care to 
practise, but desire to qualify themselves for 
dropping into something good. Briefless 
barristers help to swell the class of waiters 
upon Providence — those who open their 
mouths, shut their eyes, and see what may 
be sent them. There are always a number 
of good things going, for which a barrister 
. is often the only legally-qualified candidate 
— magistracies, and so on — ^not only at home, 
but, to an extensive degree, in the colonies 
as well. We have known men, appointed to 
high judicial office in the colonies, whose legal 
library hardly extended beyond the ' Comic 
Blackstone/ It may be interesting to mention, 


that they proved admirable judges, their 
decisions being always characterised by sound 
equity and strong common sense. Indeed, 
our pleasant and gentlemanly friends, the 
briefless barristers, are a most deserving class, 
and we hardly know that good things could 
be better bestowed elsewhere. Many briefless 
barristers have no care or sympathy for the 
work of the Bar, and many regard their 
membership as a stepstone to something more 
congenial. They would not mind being made 
judges at once, but they dislike the drudgery 
of the long initiation as working counsel. It 
is impossible not to appreciate their high- 
minded regret, that, in this country, judicial 
appointments are not bestowed irrespectively 
of these merely professional considerations. 

Still, briefless barristers mainly consist of 
those who would like briefs well enough, if 
they could only get them. There are those 
who have never had a chance, and those who 
have had their chance and lost it. In the 
present day it is the most difficult thing in 
the world for a barrister to get a fair chance. 
A man is supposed to be doing all that he 


can if he assidously attends the criminal 
courts, and waits his turn, which is supposed 
to come round in due course, of getting a 
brief for a prosecution. It is, indeed, in the 
criminal courts that most barristers make 
their first start, if, indeed, they succeed in 
being placed. But it is very hard to get 
up a criminal business ; and, after all, it is 
rather a dirty kind of business. You have, 
besides, to know people whom you would 
rather cut, and be civil where you would 
rather snub. We have met extremely in- 
telligent men, who have argued, with much 
plausibility,' that criminal business is the 
most important business at the Bar; that it 
is better, fer se^ to plead for life and liberty 
than merely for property. But it is prac- 
tically found that there is a frightful same- 
ness in criminal business, that greed and 
passion have always the same kind of de- 
basing story to tell, and that you can hardly 
get beyond the range of a certain monotonous 
vulgarity of crime. Moreover, a man's mind 
frequently revolts against the work to which 
it is put. A counsel, for instance, clearly 


sees that his garrotting client deserves to be 
hanged or flogged ; and it can be very little 
satisfection to his mind that he has got him 
off his hanging or his flogging. The brief- 
lessness of some barristers is, probably, due 
to their scruples, or their disgust. A man 
of refined culture and a fastidious tone of mind 
finds himself utterly unable to brow-beat 
witnesses, or dl'ag himself down to the level 
of a British jury. Sometimes the briefless- 
ness is due to a less creditable cause. He 
has to own to himself that he is really not 
up to his work. He may be able keenly 
to detect a brother counsel's mistakes in the 
handling of a witness, or in the points which 
he puts to a jury. But when he is himself 
called upon to address a court, he finds that 
he has to use armour which he has not 
proved. He finds that he has not got the 
art of public speaking, and the oration which 
seemed so neat and satisfactory when he 
composed it in his chamber, is lame and 
impotent when he has to bring it out. He 
then bitterly regrets that he never joined 
the * Union ' at his Universitv, and that he 

ml I 


■ ■ ■ ^ ' — 

always looked with contempt on the httle 
contemporary clubs for mutual discussion. 
For the want of a mere knack, which might 
have been acquired with ease and pleasure 
in younger days, many an able man subsides 
into a chamber counsel who might have made 
for himself a great public reputation. It is 
not encouraging to a young barrister, in his 
first essay, if a learned judge, after listening 
for a few minutes, opens the evening paper, 
and composes himself to the latest intelli- 
gence. Our judges are, of course, beyond 
the slightest whisper of partiality. Still, it 
is a great thing to be known to the presiding 
judge personally or by reputation, and it 
greatly affects the reputation in which a 
counsel is held by solicitors, whether he is 
heard by the court with marked deference 
and attention, or is hardly listened to at all. 

A few years ago there was such a rapid series 
of elevations in the law courts that it has 
been popularly said in the profession that 
business to the extent of thirty thousand or 
forty thousand a year has been set free in 
the courts, to be disposed of among men who, 


save for those elevations, would not have had 
it. It is also popularly said that at present 
there is a great dearth of commanding talent 
on some of the circuits, and there was never 
a better opening for a first-rate man than 
at the present time. At the first blush all 
this sounds very well for our briefless friend, 
but, on examination, it is mere mirage. A 
man of first-rate powers will certainly succeed, 
but the man whose abilities are merely good 
has no such pleasing certainty. And the 
man of first-i'ate powers has to prove that 
he possesses such. No one will give him 
credit for it, and no one will help him to 
preve it. He has, perhaps, many years to 
wait for his' opening ; then the business will 
come in at a rush. He takes the tide, and 
goes on to fortune; the fat ears will make 
amends for the lean ears. To such a man 
the opening is everything, but to such a man 
the opening may very possibly never come. 
There are tales on record — Lord Campbell 
has several such in his ' Lives of the Chan- 
cellors' — which give us a romance of the forum. 
The leader is absent, and the junior counsel 


gloriously wins the cause. A man rises to 
address the jury quite unknown, and leaves 
the court immortalisfed^ A good-natured 
attorney generously marks some young man 
of promise, and gives him an important brief. 
We may observe that the last kind of instance 
is becoming almost an impossibility.- A soli- 
citor, in a .case which is at all important, 
knows that it is perilous work to entrust a 
brief to an unknown genius. •; With charac- 
teristic caution he has to rely upon talent 
that is proved, rather than on 'talent which 
has to assert itself. He has also interests 
of his own to serve, and will not concern 
himself with the interests of one who is an 
outsider to his circle. In cases involving 
property, he is obliged to avail himself of the 
highest talent which he can co'mmand, for his 
clients will insist on this, and it will be to 
their advantage, and ultimately to his own, 
that this should be the case. Otherwise, a 
solicitor will naturally give his business to 
his own friends and connections. 

This brings us to another prevailing cause 
of brieflessness. To a considerable extent 

VOL. I. M 


legal business is becoming a monopoly in the 
hands of a class. Formerly a great social 
distinction existed between barristers and 
solicitors, but absolutely no such distinction 
now exists. It was thought in the highest 
degree indecorous for a solicitor to make 
advance? to a barrister; it was as bad as a 
modest maiden making advances to a bachelor. 
The fledgeling barristers sat in modest awe^ 
palpitating for a proposal. To vary th(? 
image, the legal Houris wondei^d to whom 
the Sultan of a solicitor would throw the 
handkerchief. Theoretically, at least, and to 
a great extent practically, this high etiquette 
is maintained. In the meantime, however, 
the friends of barristers bring heavy pressure 
to bear upon solicitors in the matter of the 
disposal of their briefs. In the meantime, 
also, solicitors have reduced their patronage 
to a special system of their own, A legal 
firm, with a lucrative business, sends the son 
or relative of some leading member to the 
Bar, and is able, in the legitimate course of 
business, even though his abilities are me- 
diocre, to put a good professional income in 


I ■ ■ > .■'■■■ ■ — — — i^ • — ■ ■ ■' ' — • ■ .'r * — 

his way. One of the most approved method* 
for a barrister to get into practice is, to marrv 
into the family of a solicitor. This kind 
of arrangement is now fully recognised. The 
la^vyer may not be able to give his son-in-lat\?^ 
a sum of money, but he can promise him busi^ 
ness to the extent of £500 a year; that is, hfc 
pays him in kind — receives him on what are 
called terms of reciprocity. It is not at all 
a bad way for getting on at the Bar to marry 
a solicitor's daughter. 

But let us see how all this works foy 
our briefless friend. He cannot marry the 
daughter of the only influential solicitor he 
knows, even although he is to be paid /or i% 
He has no legal connection. He has simply 
entered a most honourable and ancient pro- 
fession, relymg on his character, culture, and 
ability. At first he is greatly impressed with 
the owl-like wisdom of the wig and gown. 
There is a pleasing excitement and variety in 
going circuit, in joining a brilliant mess, in 
gathering up the wit and stories of the court. 
He probably sees something of local society, 
and hopes that he will some day distinguish 

M 2 


himself in the eyes that rain down sweet 
influence. He, perhaps, owns to himself, after 
a time, that there is a depressing monotony 
in that average fifty-pound note which going 
circuit costs him. Once it was thought a 
great thing to attend sessions by way of 
making business, but sessions are not now 
for barristers what they once were. Once it 
Ti[as held that a barrister might get business 
by affecting to be busy, by having a blue bag 
filled with papers, and many books and docu- 
ments to consult; but this is now esteemed a 
baseless legend. Perhaps he becometh cyni- 
cal. He thinks that Buzfuz (Serjeant) talked 
* utter bosh 'in opening Mrs. BardeU's case; 
that Jones, Q.C., did not do half as well as 
he could have done in cross-examining that 
tough witness; and even that Starling (C.J.) 
got rather muddled in the issue which he left 
to the jury. Perhaps he thinks that its 
' dogged that does it,' and elects a West- 
minster court to which he will regularly 
attend. He beguiles much time by taking 
portraits, profile and full face, of such men 
as Buzfuz (Serjeant), Jones, Q.C., and Star- 


ling (C.J.). Finally, he perhaps betakes 
himself to literature, or to some other down- 
ward path that leads to professional perdition. 
In Mr. Burgon's interesting hfe of Tytler, the 
historian, we find that, being the son of a 
well-known judge, he had a considerable 
practice at the Scotch criminal Bar, but when 
the writers found that he was becoming 
known as an author, his practice quite for- 
sook him. The late Mr. Justice Talfourd 
was a successful barrister and successful 
author, and — save the mark — a poet. Such 
a phenomenon is abnormal enough, and recalls ^ 
the black swan, or rather the aloe, that blos- 
soms but once in a hundred years. 

We confess that we think our old fi'iends 
Mr. Briefless and Mr. Dunup have been rather 
hardly dealt by. Every man ought to have a 
fair chance, and we cannot see that they have 
had theirs. But we will forget the case of indi- 
viduals in the larger consideration which brief- 
lessness opens up. Two considerations occur 
to us which may be very concisely stated. 
If the Bar degenerates into a class-profession 
which hardly gives independent men a chance, 


then there is a danger that independent men 
will not go to the Bar, and that it will seri- 
ously fall off in efficiency and its general 
standard. Secondly, solicitors should con- 
sider that every man is a debtor to his pro- 
lession, and should not only seek their own 
ends, but do what they can to promote the 
efficiency of the legal profession — an end 
which they will promote if they give un- 
known men a chance. To the briefless them- 
selves there are certainly not wanting topics 
of consolation. They see a great deal of life 
and character. They have abundant space 
of time for meditation. They have the fairest 
opportunity for exercising that finest of vir- 
tues, patience. They have generally some 
means of their own — health, hope, fine tastes, 
energy, and culture. In the season of fruition 
they will perhaps desiderate the period of 
hope, in the season of oppressive business the 
period of leisure. Leisure is, after all, the 
main boon and prize of life, and those who 
can use it well, though they may be briefless, 
will not, in the long run and in the best sense, 
be unsuccessful. 


The success may come at last, but before 
the success may come, there are some preli- 
minary questions to be settled. The question 
of the morality of advocacy is one which, to 
a young man at that decisive turning-point 
of life which consists in choosing a pro- 
fession, is often ftiU of embarrassment. I 
have known of instances in which men who 
might have had good chances at the Bar 
have held aloof from moral considerations. 
It was bad enough that on the legal cab- 
stand they should be at the beck and call 
of each hirer. It was bad enough that the 
energies of an immortal soul should be frit- 
tered away on such questions as whether a 
railway company should be liable for the 
lost goods of a passenger who had not duly 
registered them, or whether Jem Stubbs's 
destroying his wife's head by knocking it 
too much about with a poker was murder 
or manslaughter. It may be ©bserved that, 
in the latter case, the verdict will probably, 
be manslaughter, and the judge, in all pro- 
bability, will pass a lenient sentence. Our 
judges appear to have a truly British respect 


for property, as compared with the person, 
with life and limb. Mr. TroUope is, of 
course, the great advocate against advocacy. 
It certainly seems intolerable that, when a 
man is plainly on the facts guilty of an atro- 
cious murder, and the barrister leans to the 
belief that, on the whole, he would rather 
hang such a scoundrel than leave him un- 
hanged, that the same barrister should be 
obliged to expend all his ability and inge- 
nuity in getting him off. Practically a bar- 
rister has no choice ; he must take any case 
that is offered to him or he will lose business, 
although I believe that once or twice bar- 
risters have refused briefs in favour of crimi- 
nals whom they abhorred. It is thus that St. 
Augustine writes of the matter: — 'And I 
resolved in thy sight, not tumultuously to 
tear, but gently to withdraw, the service of. 
my tongue from the marts of lip-labour; that 
the young, no students in thy law, nor in 
thy peace, but in lying dotages, and lip skir- 
mishes, should no longer buy at my mouth 
arms for their madness. And (very season- 
ably) it now wanted very few days unto the 
vacation of the Vintage, and I resolved to 


endure them, then in a regular way to take 
my leave, and, having been purchased by 
Thee, no more return for sale.' There was 
a higher tone in the Roman forum than 
there is in our own. Cicero would refuse 
to defend a man of whose innocence he 
was not convinced. The answer to such 
reasoning is that the barrister is one com- 
ponent pai't of a complex machinery, the 
object of which is to elicit the truth. He 
does not feel called upon, as Cicero felt, to 
avow his belief in the innocence of his client. 
Indeed such a course would be deemed to be 
in the worst taste. He is testing the worth 
of other statements ; he is making his own 
statements ; he is suggesting the theory that 
may probably be the right one. He is an 
active agent in bringing about a right deci- 
sion, and in promoting the cause of justice. 
The general reasoning in favour of modern 
advocacy, of which this is a specimen, can 
hardly be asserted to be other than as a 
whole irrefragable. Still I can imagine, 
despite any amount of such special pleading, 
that a high-minded barrister will feel some 


qualms when he knows, for instance, that he 
has been the means of crushing and oppress- 
ing a poor widow. Still, some of the best 
practice of the Bar consists in chamber prac- 
tice, in equity, and in the common law cases, 
in which astuteness and learning may be care- 
fully exercised. The Bar is the avenue to 
the Bench, and no one has a purer fame or 
does his country better service than the wise 
and upright judge. 

Probably, of the entire income made by 
the practice of the law, only about ten per 
cent, goes to the barristers. On the other 
hand, all the distinctions of the profession 
belong to them. Of the solicitors, there is 
of course a class of whom everyone thinks 
with deserved contempt and dislike. Pro- 
bably this pettifogging class is both a small 
and a diminishing one. It has been my 
happiness to know lawyers who have been 
an ornament to their order, and raise one's 
opinion of human nature. I have known 
lawyers who have made a point of never 
allowing a case to go into court if it can 
possibly be helped, who never undertake a 


case of the substantial justice of which they 
are not convinced, and who really make no 
charge at all for a great deal of their cor- 
respondence and advice. It is satisfactory 
to know that such men have often immense 
practice, and make correspondingly large 
incomes. It is delightful to see that there is 
a real moral progress in the profession, and 
thus a plain, straightforward, simple way of 
doing business. Few men see more of the 
range and variety of human life than so- 
licitors, and it is happy for them if they can 
pass through their perilous ordeal with a 
sound heart and an untainted mind. 

There is no profession for which a man can 
have a heartier liking than for the medical 
profession. For while it may be said in the 
rough that the law feeds and battens upon the 
vices and passions of himaanity, the medical 
profession pursues a godlike, beneficent mission 
in administering to our diseases and unhap- 
piness. We may now and then hear of a medi- 
cal man who evidently makes lucre his chief 
object, and acts severely towards the poor, but 
as a rule the medical man constantly relin- 


quishes his just and hardly-earned gains, and 
in many a household is an angel of help and 
consolation. It is a matter of regret that 
medicine is not a profession in which a man 
has a clear field and no favour. The man who 
wishes to be a consulting physician must wait 
long and spend much money, and drive about 
in a carriage to enable him to keep one. It is 
to be hoped that medical education and medi- 
cal degrees will be put upon a better footing 
than has for some time been the case. It is 
lamentable to think of the young men who by 
a process of cram can pass their examinations 
and forthwith obtain a licence to kill, slay, 
and destroy. At the same time it is satisfac- 
tory to know that the profession abounds with 
able and deserving men, and that they con- 
trive to do well in the long run. They do not 
make fortimes, but they get good incomes. 
Even the poorest man can struggle to the 
i'ront. He walks the hospital to some pur- 
pose, becomes house surgeon ; perhaps he is 
only an apothecary, but collects a connection 
and sinks the shop ; perhaps he is assistant to a 
practitioner, obtains some public appointment, 


and gets into general practice. Perhaps there 
are as really good men in the provinces or in the 
East-end of London as among the famous or 
titled physicians of the West-end. Of all the pro- 
fessions that a man can practise, setting aside 
the ministerial — which may be considered 
the most important, but iii which we can rarely 
trace visible results — there is none more glo- 
rious or elevating than the medical profession. 
The scholastic profession alone could enter 
very closely into the comparison. This is a 
great and noble profession, which will pro- 
bably receive a far larger development than 
it has hitherto attained. We are now only 
commencing a broad national education. The 
time will come when with the common schools, 
and the public schools, and the colleges 
education will be extended and cheapened at 
the Universities and throughout the country. 
By-and-bye we shall have a vast army of a 
hundred thousand schoolmasters for our State 
schools. At present our national schools are ex-- 
ceedingly good ; our public schools exceedingly 
good ; but the intermediate schools have been 
good, bad, and indijOferent, without any means 


of testing their real eflSciency . Much improve- 
ni£nt has been effected, but we may look for- 
ward to an organised, scientific system of edu^ 
cation which may carry on our land at an 
accelerated progress to the van of the nations. 

Every kind of education, scientific, techni- 
cal, linguistic, as well as the old lines, will be 
•more and more, developed, as it is understood' 
that we must add the German Geisi to our 
British stock. To teach fitly is as rare a gifjt 
a^ any endowment of eloquence or art. The 
scholastic profession will rise everywhere in 
social esteem and importance. Even now the 
average head-master of a great public school 
is at least as important as an average bishop. 
The responsibility of forming the character 
and foreshadowing the history of those com- 
ipitted to one*8 care is exceedingly great, and 
the honour should be correspondingly great. 

The scholastic profession is now a regular 
business, of which the clergy have the largest 
part. The class lists at the Universities, es- 
pecially perhaps at Cambridge, furnish the 
criterion by which the public mainly judge of 
the capacity of masters. Such a criterion, 

#-*- • • 

however, simply shows the capacity of a man 
for imbibing knowledge, and is not in itself a 
proof of his capacity to impart it. A good 
degree enables a man at once to obtain a 
lucrative mastership, and, as he gains ex- 
perience, he goes on to the greater prizes af 
the profession, A good degree has thus a 
large monetary value. A senior wrangler or 
•a senior classic ought to make his place on thg. 
list worth some ten thousand pounds to hinj, 
and a place only a little below his would have 
a not much inferior value. A good school- 
master will show that he is fit not only to 
instruct, but to educate, to develope the cha- 
racter as well as the intellect of boys, treadirig 
in the steps of an Arnold or a Bradley. 

We come now to the Government appoint- 
ments that are obtained by competitive ex- 
aminations. The first example of these was 
the Indian Civil Service, and this service still 
offers the chief prizes in this direction. There 
is nowhere in the Empire a nobler career 
open to a man,* a career where the possibilities 
are so splendid as in India. To a man of 


good character and temperate habits, living in 
India is cheap and not unwholesome. The 
examination for the Civil Service is exceedingly- 
broad and fair, one of great compass and variety. 
A man may make almost any intellectual pur- 
suit, almost any scrap of knowledge available 
for this examination. If he has not had the ad- 
vantage of a University education and good 
honours in classics and mathematics, still if he 
thoroughly understands the language, litera- 
ture, and history of his country, and other 
intellectual pursuits, his chance is good. 

In 1870 a wide revolution was effected in 


every department of the Civil Service of the 
Crown. The nomination system was alpaost 
entirely swept away, and the system of com- 
petitive examinations was substituted. The 
Order of Council issued at Balmoral threw 
open the whole vast civil patronage of Eng- 
land, and added a very sensible proviso that 
every appointment should be probationary 
for six months, and liable to be cancelled 
through any unfitness of the person appointed. 
This order will probably lend a vast impetus to 
the educational progress of the country, and is 


indeed the proper appendix to our recent legis- 
lation on education. Perhaps an exaggerated 
value has been popularly assigned to Govern- 
ment appointments, and when they are open 
instead of close there may not be such a 
lively appreciation of them. The service of 
the Government is hardly so profitable as the 
service of the people. At the commence- 
ment and the end of a career a man perhaps 
obtains a distinct advantage, but a man in the 
full flush of energy and work has hardly suf- 
ficiently free expansion for his powers, and 
has lost the chances which active life affords 

In any review of the professions, the army 
and navy should be considered, and the 
dangers and exigencies of the country will 
doubtless give an increased importance to the 
two arms of the service. No commissions are 
purchasable in the artillery, and it is to be 
hoped that this example will everywhere be 
followed. It is a regrettable circiunstance that 
neither in the army nor in the navy can a 
man very easily subsist upon his pay. The 
position of the poor officer is in much analo- 

VOL. I. N 


gous to that of the poor curate. He may see 
a younger man promoted over his head when 
all the merit is on his own side. It may be 
reasonably expected that before long every 
effort will be made to render the two arms 
more popular throughout the country, and to 
give them the substantial rewards they merit. 
The worth of the new arrangements has yet 
to be tested. 

It would be interesting to make a survey 
of the various pursuits of trade and commerce, 
and it may be observed generally that of 
those which deal with the luxuries of society, 
the work of the artist- and architect and 
author, while in some cases they give gain 
and name, in many others they afford only a 
scanty and precarious subsistence. The busi- 
nesses that deal with the actual wants of so- 
ciety, the eating and drinking and clothing, 
the home, and travel, while they often 
yield enormous profits are also more equable 
and permanent in their returns. There is 
sometimes a great deal of foolish pride gener- 
ated in a comparison of professions and 
trades, which fosters the conventionality, the 


exclusiveness, the feelings of caste and class. 
There is much in this that is ignoble, that is 
narrow and narrowing ; something too that is 
inhuman and un-Christian. As Christians we 
have all innumerable points of contact and 
sympathy ; the points in which men differ 
are as nothing to the points in which they 
agree. It makes very little difference what 
parts in life we are called upon to play, but 
it makes all the difference whether we act 
them well, simply, and nobly. To use an old 
similitude, it is not asked in any dramatic 
performance who played the king, or who the 
hero or the peasant; the only question is 
whether the character is played well or not. 
The noblest kind of fame is open to the 
lowliest ; to quote the solemn music of Ly- 
cidas — 

Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, 
Nor in the glittering foil 

Set off to the world ; nor in broad mmour lies, 
But lives and grows aloft in those pure eyes 

And perfect witness of all-judging Jove. 
As he pronounces lastly on each deed, 
Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed. 

Of course there is a very large class of 




people who have no call to enter a profession. 
To use a current expression, a man says that 
* he has had a* father before him/ The ex- 
istence of such a class is a great element in 
the strength and ornament of a State. There 
is a great deal of work to be done in a 
country for which only in a very limited way 
there is any distinct class of workmen. For 
instance, in statesmanship, that is of necessity 
a very limited class that can afford to follow 
politics as a profession. Our statesmen must 
Be mainly recruited from a class who are 
quite . independent of its possible rewards. 
Again, take literature. We have a large 
qlass of literary men who find literature as 
regular, though hardly as gainful a calling 
as any other. In journalism it is absolutely 
necessary that there should be such a class. 
It forms now a distinct profession, to which 
the best men give their best energies. If 
the case were otherwise, our newspapers 
would not lead the entire newspaper press 
of the world. But literature, pure and 
simple, ought not to be considered a pro- 
fession, and it must be a matter of regret 


-that it is often so spoken of. Every man who 
has original ideas of his own, or a valuable 
•experience of his own, is free of the company 
of authors, and can make his entry into their 
ranks. It is for the good of national lite- 
rature that men should enter the ranks of 
literature who are not obliged to earn bread 
for the day that is passing over them, 
and who have the leisure and means that 
will enable them to think out thoroughly 
their ideas ; and if necessary, observe the Ho- 
ratian rule of keeping their compositions 
for years, and can calmly endure the neg-^ 
lect of the public in the faith that time will 
give them the recognition they deserve. So 
Bacon dedicated his works to Prince Pos* 
terity, and Swift inscribed one of his bookd 
to the generation after the next. The exist-^ 
ence of an independent and cultured class, 
who, liberated from the ordinary incentives to 
exertion, are able to devote themselves to 
the investigation of any kind of truth, is an 
immense gain to a nation and a nation's 
literature. Similarly in regard to works of 
philanthropy. Christian men, beyond the 


ordinary consecration of all their work to 
God, generally strive in some direct way to 
serve, in some special work such as the 
visitation of the poor or the instruction of 
the ignorant. Still the great work of phi- 
lanthropy, in its complex organisation, might 
languish if it were left to the surplus energies 
of hard-working men. Here again, the im- 
mense importance of a leisurely and educated 
class is seen. Such a class ought to stand in 
the van of society. In politics it should 
3tand in advance of professed politicians 
as emancipated from temptations, liberated 
from the swaying power of many conflicting 
interests. In society it should be a great 
motive power, in mitigating the eff^ect of 
mere vulgar wealth, in giving a due pre-emi- 
nence to mind and character. 

A very fine example of this class may be 
found in the late Edward Denison, who made 
great sacrifices, and devoted himself solely 
to the improvement and elevation of the 
working-classes. There are living men who 
might be similarly mentioned, but we must 
remember that it is not lawful to sacrifice to 


heroes before sunset. Yet such men as Mr. 
Peabody and Lord Shaftesbury may be 
named as among the most conspicuous in- 
stances. The Memoir of Mr. Denison was at 
first privately printed, like those of Lords 
Kingsdown, Broughton, and Chichester, but 
has since been published. Writing before the 
publication, we fell back on a paper in the 
' Saturday Review,' to help us with our 
illustration of the philanthropic life. It is 
written in the best style of that variously- 
hued periodical : — 

' Born at Salisbury in 1840, he was son 
of the then Bishop of that diocese, and 
nephew of the Speaker of the House of Com- 
mons. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, 
he was prevented from achieving equal Uni- 
versity distinctions to those of his father and 
three uncles by ill-health resulting from over- 
training for the 4)oat-races of his schooldays. 
This ill-health clave to him more or less 
throughout the rest of his career, as may be 
surmised fi:om the fact that he wrote many 
of his letters from Madeira, Italy, the South 
of France, Bournemouth, and other places 


.visited in quest of stronger lungs and con- 
stitution. But everywhere the bent of his 
mind was towards a study of the condition 
and habits of the poor, and from 1862 to 
1870, when he died, the work of his life 
seems to have been theoretical and experi- 
mental devotion to the amelioration, on sound 
principles, of the classes which come within 
the range of the Poor-laws. With this end 
in view he went to Stepney to cope per- 
sonally with the great East End distress, 
taking up his quarters for the best part of a 
year at Philpot Street, Mile End Road, and 
building and endowing a school there for 
the teaching of ragged children, while he 
himself lectured to working-class adults* He 
offered himself in 1868 for the borough of 
Newark, and, having been elected after a 
contest in which he distinguished himself by 
the candour and independence of his hustings 
speeches, sat as its member for a brief year, 
and drew the attention of thoughtful minds 
within and without the House by an able 
maiden speech on Mr. Corrance's motion 
relative to Pauperism (May 10, 1869). But 


the labours of the session precipitated his 
removal from a field of usefulness in which 
he made social questions his speciality. He 
had to leave England once more in quest of 
health, and after a visit to Guernsey, and the 
relinquishment of a projected visit to the 
United States, each planned with an eye to 
the absorbing purpose of his life, he finally 
repaired to Melbourne in a sailing ship, 
where, as the voyage had injured his health 
instead of improving it, he died (January 26^ 
1870) within a fortnight after landing. 

' A mere summary, however, cannot do 
justice to such a man's life and acts, much 
less to the animating principle of them, and 
to the carefully ripened and well-stored mind 
which avoided the visionary and grasped the 
practical in all that it attempted. The letters 
themselves must be studied for an insight 
into that mind and the work it did. Though 
here and there a fear is expressed lest it 
might be thought so, there was nothing 
narrow or timid, certainly nothing indicative 
of worship of expediency, in the character of 
Edward Denison's mind. Well-trained and 


taught, it shrank from violent changes and 
hasty choices. He held aloof, with instinc- 
tive caution, from divers schemes and asso- 
ciations as to which he was not satisfied about 
the wisdom of the promoters. " I am ready,' ^ 
he writes, in one place, " to dig in the vine- 
yard, but I don't feel bound to imitate every 
vagary of my fellow-labourers." And one 
can understand why such a man, when so- 
licited to join the Church Union, declined on 
the ground that " he already belonged to the 
best possible Union — ^that Body which is the 
blessed Company of all faithful people." 
Whether in religion, or politics, or social 
science, he looked wistfully for the practical 
element, and where he suspected a lack of 
this he hung aloof, and risked the charge of 
lukewarmness rather than go blindfold with 
a clique putting undue trust in legislation for 
moral improvement, or commit himself to the 
dogmas of extreme partisans. Yet there was 
nothiQg halting in his rule of life. " Real 
life," he writes, "is not dinner parties or 
small talk, nor even croquet and dancing." 
Literature and study were with him means 


to an end ; they were the cultivation of his 
gifts with a view to enhancing his capacity to 
benefit his fellow-creatures. And so, in the 
course of elementary Bible teaching which he 
gave single-handed to a roomfiil of dock- 
labourers at the East End, and in which he 
used illustrations from human nature, natural 
religion, and secular history, we cannot doubt 
that his reading reproduced itself with good 
effect. "If John Baptist had stood up in 
a half-empty synagogue, and had said, I wish 
the publicans and harlots would come here, 
because then I would teach them to repent, how 
many would he have been likely to baptise? 
And if Christ had limited His teaching in the 
same way, what chance would there have 
been, think you, of founding Christianity ? '' 
But, having made the proffer, he did not 
fret about its acceptance or non-acceptance. 
" No man may deliver his brother, he can 
but throw him a plank." Meanwhile his per- 
sonal self-abnegation stands out undesignedly 
on the face of his letters. If he dilates, in 
January, on the delights of skating, it leads 
him to remark that he would give up the 


pleasures of frost a thousand times rather 
than enjoy them "poisoned by the misery 
of so many of our brethren." " I have come 
to this," he writes in the September of 1867, 
" that a walk along Piccadilly is a most ex- 
hilarating treat. I don't enjoy it above once 
in ten days, but therefore with double zest." 

^ So minded, Edward Denison could not but 
fcarry out heartily that which his hand found 
to do. Convinced that the bad condition of 
the population at the East End was due 
chiefly to " the total absence of residents of 
a better class, and to the dead level of la- 
bour," convinced, too, that "the mere pre- 
sence of a gentleman known to be on the 
alert to keep local authorities up to their 
work is inestimable," he took up his quarters 
in a district the precise locality of which one 
of his letters describes with a humorous 
topographical accuracy, and which was simply 
the antipodes of fashionable or even business 
London. There he set himself to wrestle 
with pauperism by setting his face against 
bread and meat and money doles, and by 
combining with others to deal radically with 


a few cases of aggravated distress; whilst he 
coped with irreligion and indifference by 
throwing himself into the work of a lay 
evangelist, and becoming the animating spirit 
of a working men's club of the better sort, 
and an active, hopeful teacher of boys and 
adults as occasion required. Clearly con- 
vinced from the first that indiscriminate 
charity is mischievous, and that giving 
money only undoes the work of the new 
Poor-law, he read, and thought, and tra- 
velled, whenever he did travel, with an eye 
to make assurance doubly sure. 

' In an early letter he justifies lamentation 
over those who die with their part unfinished, 
and the first portion of their career broken 
off, as it were, with a ragged edge. A 
curious anticipation of his own cutting short ! 
We may deem that, in the eye of Providence, 
the hour was not ripe; or such intensity of 
purpose, with so holy an end in view, would 
surely have been allowed to achieve, in a 
lengthened term of usefulness, the solution 
of the great problem of these latter days. 
That the end is not yet must be the secret 
of so sharp and premature a removal.' 


It must be allowed that the choice of a 
profession is one of the most important turn- 
ing-points in life. If a man determines not 
to enter a profession, such a determination 
is probably a more decisive turning-point than 
any other. The best practical advice perhaps 
is that the bias and tendency of a boy should 
be understood, and the object in life early 
defined, to which he can work up. Nothing 
is more to be deprecated than the aimless, 
desultory way in which so many young men 
are unfortunately brought up; and nothing 
gives the character so much strength and 
energy as a definite object. That is a time 
of very great perplexity to young men when 
their path in life is obscure, and they doubt 
whither they shall turn. The way is often 
indicated to them by their self-knowledge, 
their knowledge of their own ability or in- 
ability, and by the openings which Providence 
seems to indicate to them. Well for them if 
they can realise the words of the sacred poet 
in choosing their path in life — ^words which 
they will, perhaps, often repeat while making 
their toilsome march through the careful years. 


Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom 

Lead Thou me on. 
The night is dark, and I am far from home ; 

Lead Thou me on. 
Guide Thou my steps ; I do not ask to see 
The distant scene ; one step enough for me. 

I was not always thus, nor prayed that Thou 

Shouldst lead me on. 
I loved to see and choose my path, but now 

Lead Thou me on. * 

I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, 
Pride ruled my will ; remember not past years. 

So long Thy love has spared me, sure it will 

Still le^d me on. 
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till 

The night be gone. 
And with the morn those angel faces smile 
That I have loved long since, and lost awhile. 




When some men speak of ' taking a living/ 
Mrs. Glasse's suggestion about cooking a hare 
— ^that we should first catch it — may probably 
occur to the clerical reader. How to catch 
the living is, indeed,, the anxious problem of 
the curate-mind. That mind is fully con- 
vinced that promotion does not come either 
from the east or from the west. The common 
notion of preferment is that of Sydney Smith, 
that it is all a lottery ; where you may draw a 
prize, or, much more probably, a blank. But 
ecclesiastical preferment is not, as a matter of 
fact, a mere system of haphazard. Things 
work very much here as elsewhere — in a 
groove. It is not an uncommon thing to meet 
with a man who has refused a dozen or half-a- 
dozen livings. It is not an uncommon thing. 


either, to meet with a curate^who has never 
known the pleasant excitement of such a pro- 
position. That depends whether you are on 
the groove or off the groove, whether you are 
really on the line or have been shunted to some 
siding. However, when the living is really 
obtained, and the much- deserving ecclesiastic 
is admitted into the comfortable circle of those 
who obtain the temporalities of the Church, 
he becomes a person of enlarged social impor- 
tance, and as such is liable to be subjected to 
a microscopical investigation by the philoso- 
phical sociologist, whose kind has been so 
largely developed of recent date. 

A few preliminary words may, however, be 
said on the subject of getting a living. Livings^ 
are generally disposed of on so regular a sys- 
tem that only an inconsiderable proportion 
come under the definition of blanks or prizes. 
The family- living goes to some member of the 
family. The College-living goes to some Fel- 
low of the College. The Chapter-living goes 
to some member of the Chapter or his nominee. 
It may so happen that the younger son may 
rebel against the ecclesiastical arrangement j or 

VOL. I. o 


that the Fellowe are all so cozy and comfortable 
that they do not care to move ; or that the 
living in question may be beneath the serious 
attention of cathedral dignitaries, and thus 
even the benefices may wander — ^heaven- 
directed— to some poor parson. It is to be 
said, to the great credit of the bishops, that 
their patronage is generally administered on 
fair and intelligible principles. Some may 
favour the High Church, some the Low 
Church, and of one or two it is said that, with 
rigid impartiality, they bestow their patronage 
alternately. But it is commonly asserted in 
clerical circles that the man who has no in- 
terest in the Church does best to settle himself 
down quietly to some curacy for a great num- 
ber of years, at the end of which his bishop 
may probably do something for him, or, at all 
events, if the bishop does not, nobody else 
will. The curate who clings doggedly to his 
curacy for a great number of years is a great 
pet with bishops, but we are not at all certain 
that it might not have been better for the 
curate, and better for his people, that they 
should have had more change. Wesley's two- 


year system, now enlarged to three years, 
though an exaggeration, is an important and 
useful regulation. When the living comes 
the success is often a source of congratula- 
tion and enjoyment. The curate reads with 
raptures a letter from his bishop, offering him 
the living of Marsh-cum-Bogland, with every 
expression of personal confidence and esteem. 
But when it is discovered that Marsh-cum- 
Bogland is worth sixty-five pounds a year, 
and has no house, the ardour of gratitude 
insensibly cools. It is, nevertheless, very 
remarkable how even very small livings are 
eagerly sought for by dozens who have some 
modest patrimony of their own. We observed 
that when a patron of a small living lately 
advertised for an incumbent, he had hundreds 
of answers. When a Chancellor's living be- 
comes vacant, there are generally hundreds of 
applications, and his secretary of presentations 
must always be involved in voluminous cor* 
respondence. Some Chancellors delight in 
the exercise of patronage, while others consi- 
der it the greatest of bores. But we imagine 
that the experience of most Keepers of the 



Great Seal would show that they are not 
allowed to exercise it unmolested. Lord 
Eldon, we know, was greatly importuned by 
Queen Charlotte in the disposition of his pat- 
ronage, and such royal influence is by no 
means out of date at the present time. Of 
course, political considerations frequently de- 
termine Church patronage ; and^ in the absence 
of any definite principles of promotion by 
desert, this system acts nearly as well as any 
other could. The Minister himself — Lord 
Palmerston was a case in point — is sometimes 
90 hampered by party considerations, that he 
is unable to attend to his personal predilec- 
tions. If a lord-lieutenant or a county member 
reports that it is absolutely necessary for his 
party in a certain part of the country that some 
vacancy should be filled up in a particular 
manner, the Minister has to give way. We 
remember the case of a distinguished Oxford 
divine, who brought a Whig Chancellor a very 
vehement demand from the lord-lieutenant of 
a county that he should be preferred to a 
vacant benefice. The Chancellor came in his 
robes of office from the bench to his private 


room to see the applicant. He swore like a 
cabman when he read the letter, and gave the 
trembling clergyman the living with curses 
which an Ernulphus might env3\ 

We know a man with a very important posi- 
tion quite unable to trace how the unknown 
path of preferment opened up to him. One 
of our ablest bishops on the bench- came to his 
position by mere accident. An important 
position, which generally led to a mitre, 
became vacant. It was offered to an aged 
clergyman, who said he was too old to accept 
it, but advised the Premier to go to an obscure 
church in the neighbourhood, where he might 
hear a really able man. This clergyman 
subsequently obtained the great preferment, 
which led afterwards, in due course, to a 
bishopric. We have known of instances in 
which the patron after service has stepped 
into the vestry and offered preferment to the 
officiating clergyman. We trust that the 
mention of this circumstance will inspire pat- 
rons and preachers with a noble emulation. 
These anecdotes, however, are by no means of 
a uniformly pleasing type. A very worthy 


J— M_- J *■ ■ ■ - ■ - - -I - 

clergyman of my acquaintance, in bad health 
and with scanty means, received a conmiunica- 
tion one day from a Prime Minister to the 
effect that a very valuable living in the balmy 
Devonshire climate had been bestowed upon 
him. He was full of happiness ; the . prefer- 
ment which he had been led to expect was 
come at last, and for him meant health, ease, 
and competence. A few weeks afterwards he 
received another letter from tJie Premier say- 
ing it was all a mistake, and that this living 
was bestowed elsewhere. It is hardly too 
much to say that the shock of the disappoint- 
ment caused his death. 

We will suppose that a patron has chosen 
his man. The proper thing for the patron to 
do is to have the deeds drawn up by his own 
solicitor, send an invitation to his clerical 
friend, and crown the evening by a pleasant 
surprise. This kind of ecclesiastical etiquette 
is highly appreciated in clerical circles. The 
expenses of induction to Church preferment 
are very great, and not unfrequently absorb 
the first year's income. It was mentioned the 
other day at a public meeting in Cambridge, 


that the Bishop of Worcester, in appointing 
two clergymen to livings, sent each of them a 
fifty-pound note towards the expenses. Then 
the clergyman informs the bishop's secretary 
of his nomination, with a view to institu- 
tion. In some dioceses, the clergyman is 
called upon to submit to an examination. 
This is a word of horror to the bucolic parson, 
whose mind has been greatly running into 
turnips. It is, indeed, rather severe to re- 
quire a gray-haired man, who has long ceased 
to fret himself about the Articles, to submit 
to an examination by a young man who is 
comparatively fresh from the cram of a Uni- 
versity. The examination, however, is now 
becoming a great rarity, and ought to be prized 
accordingly by the examinee. On an ap- 
pointed day, the promoted clergjonan has to 
attend at the bishop's palace to receive institu- 
tion.* The palace may be near at hand, or 
he may have to traverse a considerable sec- 

♦ The Bishop of Lichfield, or one of hia coadjutors, in- 
ducts the new incumbent into his parish chuich in the 
presence of the congregation— an example deserving general 


^' ■ ■ I I ■ ■■ » ■ ■ ■ ■■■II mm a^^^M^^— ^W^^ 

tion of the map of England before he gets 
there. Hospitality is an episcopal virtue, and 
the travelling ecclesiastic may confidently 
rely on a substantial lunch. Still, there are 
variations in hospitality. Some bishops are 
charming hosts, and an early lunch with such 
a one is a thing to be remembered. One or 
two of them do not 'show' at the lunch, 
and, to some minds, thus fail in the chief 
requisite of a genuine hospitality. Then a 
variety of oaths is taken. Inter alia^ the 
incumbent swears that he will do his ' utmost 
endeavour to disclose and make known to Her 
Majesty, her heirs, and successors, all treasons 
and traitorous conspiracies that may be formed 
against her or them.' When these objurga- 
tions are complete, a mystic ceremony is 
transacted. A parchment is produced, with 
a huge seal attached ; the clergyman kneels 
on a stool, holding the seal in his hand, while 
the bishop reads aloud the legal document 
which gives institution. The business of the 
day is over, with the important exception- of 
the payment of fees in the muniment room. 
Two other ceremonies are requisite before 


things are complete. The incumbent when 
inducted into the living, is left alone in the 
church to toll the bell and has to read aloud 
the Articles in the church, and declare his 
unfeigned consent to them. The incoming 
. incumbent receives the income of the benefice 
from the very day of the decease, or cession, 
of his predecessor; excepting the statutable 
stipend of the curate, or the clergyman who 
has officiated at the instance of the church- 
warden, during the interregnum. He has, 
probably, also to receive a sum of nioney, 
either large or small, from the estate gf his 
predecessor, on the score of dilapidations. 

The social position to be occupied by a man 
who has just taken a living is important and 
peculiar. He is coming to a place where, in 
all human probability, he will spend the re- 
mainder of his days, where his sayings and 
doings will be carefully scrutinized, and where 
his earliest proceedings will go forth to make 
or mar the happiness and usefulness of his 
career. He will have to secure the good 
opinion of the gentry, who will come up 
from places far and wide to call upon him ; of 


the poor cottagers, who will eagerly expect 
his visits and his help ; and of the watch- 
ful, jealous tradesmen, who will gossip about 
his expenditure, and be critical about his ser- 
mons. To this last class a slight is worse 
than heresy, and impecuniosity is a deadly 
sin. Still, a great deal of generous allowance 
and consideration will be shown him, which 
he will do well to conciliate and preserve. 
Such a man has a life long work to do for 
God, and he has need of the qualities which 
will wear well. In a large town a popular 
preacher may fill a church; but in the country, 
preaching is altogether subordinate to prac- 
tice. Whatever else he may be, he must be 
just, truthful, courteous, and modest. A 
weU-managed parish will be dependent on a 
well-ordered household. When a man has 
once thoroughly conciliated the esteem of his 
parishioners, it is wonderful what he may ven- 
ture to say and do among them; hardly a 
censorious voice will be heard, so long as it 
is felt that he is thoroughly in earnest, and 
omits no duty. It is by such clergymen, 
thoroughly in earnest, and shirking no duty. 


that the great work of education, charity^ 
religion, and civilization, is mainly carried on 
throughout the country. They ordinarily live 
remote, obscure, and noiseless lives, without 
the power or the will to attract any large 
measure of public attention to themselves; 
but none the less they do a great work, by 
gentle teaching and eloquent example, re- 
claiming many a moral wilderness, so that it 
' blossoms as the rose/ 

We add a clerical letter, written or supposed 
to be written, by a clergyman long in orders 
to a young man at College, who is deliberating 
whether he shall enter the Church. 

' My dear Friend, — I thank you for your 
kind and affectionate letter. I see, that in 
your case the time has arrived, as to all of us^ 
of taking some great resolve and acting upon 
it. You ask me, as a faithful counsellor, to 
give you my advice about taking holy orders, 
to decide as I would decide myself, were I in 
your place. I would not shrink from under- 
taking much troublesome responsibility in 
order to serve you, but there are some things 
which it is impossible for one man to depute 


to another. I cannot even advise you. I can 
only lay before you certain facts which may 
assist you in coming to a conclusion — that is to 
say, you may have, honestly enough, my own 
experience, and I hope it may be of use to 

'At the same time, do not let this experience 
of mine weigh with you too far. It may seem 
to you sombre, perhaps unduly sombre, and 
that a per contra remains to be stated. This 
I am very far from denying. I am one of 
those whom the world calls disappointed men ; 
but at the same time I do not see how I could 
have been able to avoid those disappointments. 
I am a shunted man. A hapless parliamentary 
train is shunted on to a side cutting that the 
express, fast and splendid, may dash forward. 
I was a passenger in the parliamentary. I was 
shunted to the side cutting. The likeness 
would be more accurate if you could suppose 
the parliamentary was permanently brought 
to a stand, that train after train, casting upon 
it a pitying glance, hurried forwards tri- 
umphantly to a prosperous journey's end. If 
I had entered the army I might have had a 


chance of being immortalized by Mr. King- 
lake. If I had joined the bar, I might have 
done as well as those of my contemporaries 
who have succeeded remarkably well. If I 
had pushed my way in politics and literature, 
I might have attained to some amount of in- 
come and some amount of distinction. But 
I took orders. I came down to the north of 
England, among a large and ignorant popu- 
lation. I am afraid I was not best suited to 
them. I could only handle a delicate pen- 
knife, whereas they required a second White- 
field, who could wield a theological battle-axe. 
Still, what work there was to be done, I 
honestly tried to do. I am afraid that my 
preaching, then and still, was, to a high degree, 
inoperative. My physique is poor and my 
voice thin. I am a slave to my manuscript, 
and in writing my manuscript I am a slave to 
my education. I have not that practical 
ability which would enable me to become every- 
thing that I ought to my lowly congregation. 
I constantly find myself adopting lines of 
thought and falling into modes of expression 
unsuited to my people. I consider this an 


error of a very grave kind ; and, please God, 
I will yet work myself free from it. Still I 
have done or striven to do all that I could, and 
much that was originally against the grain. I 
attend my schools regularly; I visit my sick 
assiduously. Mine is not a model parish, 
and I have no showy, magnificent results ; but 
when I go among the sick, the poverty-stricken, 
and the aged, I find, with a secret joy which I 
would not exchange for a mitre, that my in- 
structions and consolations have not been 

'The population of my first parish was 
about sixteen thousand souls. The press of 
work was enormous, and it was work which 
an earnest man might multiply indefinitely 
even to a destroying extent. First of all the 
lighter accomplishments of life fled, my music 
and my love of sketching scenery. Secondly, 
my correspondence with lettered and in- 
fluential friends ceased, friends by whose 
means I might have hoped to have gained 
some elevation in the world. Thirdly, I was 
obliged to terminate my historical and general 
studies; I strove hard to retain them, giving 


up the scanty hours which after severe labour 
would fittingly have been devoted to relaxa- 
tion. I finally sacrificed even these, confining 
myself strictly to the literature of my pro- 
fession. I think I was mistaken in this, and 
of late years I have endeavoured to retrace 
my steps. All phases of that active thought 
which characterizes our modern days ought to 
be familiar to that servant of God who desires 
fully to do his Master's work in his generation. 
For some time I let this go, for the less im- 
portant of important things must at times be 
sacrificed. Consider, my friend, that my tired 
thin hand had to write every word of the two 
sermons which I prepared weekly for my peo- 
ple. You may well believe that in such a 
population a large amount of active visitation 
was required; however, there were schools and 
other parish machinery to be diligently worked. 
I wondered at the days in which I found time 
hang heavy on my hands, and at those who 
repeat such language. Were the days thirty 
hours long, and our faculties could cope with 
such an extension, it would be little enough 
for the work which the hand can find to do. 


After serving as an obscure and hard-working 
curate for a number of years, the largest and 
poorest part of the parish was marked off as 
a separate district under Sir Robert Peel's Act. 
The bishop himself offered me the appoint- 
ment, which I at once accepted. In a worldly- 
point of view I perhaps scarcely did well to do 
so. Service was at first celebrated in a licen- 
sed school-room, and it was with infinite diffi- 
culty that a church was finally built. Since 
then a parsonage-house has been erected. If 
my narrative is not an encouraging one, mul- 
titudes of my brethren would furnish you 
with one still less so. Multitudes do not 
attain even the scanty preferment which I 
have obtained, for I assure you that my net 
income is a hundred and sixty pounds a 

' Perhaps with the hopes natural to a young 
man just about to enter a great profession, you 
indulge yourself in a very different picture. 
Some West-End church rises perchance before 
your view, with much architectural beauty, 
with an eminently pleasing ritual, and thronged 
with cultured, intelligent, and approving listen- 


ers. Perhaps you will wed a pretty, clever, 
and well-dowered wife ; perhaps some lordly 
pewholder will give you a living. We have 
all heard of such cases. It may probably be 
yours. Still more probably it may not. If 
such a lot would really be the best for you, I 
wish it for you with all my soul. But such a 
position is perhaps not the most useful in the 
Church, nor yet the most useful to a man's 
own self. I am clear that no man has a right 
to enter the ministry reckoning on such. You 
must consider that you are launching on a 
wide sea, and sailing under sealed orders. 
Those orders, which are to settle vour desti- 
nation, are at the time of sailing quite un- 
known to you. You must enter your pro- 
fession ready to do your work wherever your 
work is found for you. 

'Now, my dear friend, are you prepared 
for all this ? Chiefly, in the language of our 
Prayer Book, do you trust that you are moved 
by the Holy Spirit to undertake this ministry ? 
I do not mean by this to ask you whether you 
think you have any afflatus or special mission 
or supernatural call. This grave question is 

VOL. I. P 


not to be settled by any mere emotionalism. 
If you have prepared yourself for hard work 
and possible sacrifice; if you feel that your 
education and past life may most fittingly be 
subordinated to this purpose ; if the hand of 
Providence and the course of events guide 
you to this path; if you deliberately think 
that in this way your life may be most happily 
and beneficially spent ; if you have made this 
a matter of earnest prayer to God, and con- 
fided it in humble faith to Him; if, in pro- 
portion as you incline to the affirmative, you 
find your mind calm, settled, and resolved, and 
so far as you decline, restless and dissatisfied ; 
then in my judgment, the judgment of a weak, 
erring man howbeit, your path to the ministry 
seems clear, and I pray God to guide you into 
it, and to bless you in it. 

^I could add much more in the way of 
setting before you the drawbacks and discom- 
forts which attend a curate's life. But not 
willingly would I disparage that blessed and 
sacred service in which I am engaged. Rather 
let me remind myself that there are some 
fevourable points which I ought lastly to set 


before you. Remember that your ministerial 
work tends immediately and directly to your 
own good. The sermons you address to 
others you preach first of all to your own 
self. The warnings and consolations you ad- 
dress to others are, chief of all, warnings and 
consolations to yourself. You may pretty 
well choose your own times and occasions for 
working, and are in some measure released 
from the ordinary shackles that bind ordinary 
men. Your studies are those which iu the 
highest degree benefit and interest the in- 
tellect and the spirit. Neither should I omit 
to mention the positive worldly advantages 
which accrue to you ; you have an income as- 
sured to you, small indeed, but not smaller 
than is gained by the conamencing barrister 
and physician. You have a status in society 
which, if not valued by the Mammon-hunters, 
is yet recognized and honoured by the better 
portion of the community. If the income is 
narrow, it is quite possible and quite allowable 
that you should add to it by pupils or litera- 
ture. If a Paul worked with his hands to 



give himself a subsistence, assuredly you may 
resort to similar avocations in order that you 
may provide things honest, and be able to give 
to him that needeth. But in the hands of an 
earnest man literature and education cease to 
be secular. 

*Adieu, my friend, and in the best sense of 
the word it is indeed d Dim. I do indeed 
commend you to Him. May He guide and 
direct you ! I have v/ritten you a long letter, 
I find. The ' Saturday Review ' says that 
people no longer send letters ; they only send 
messages. I am at least an exceptional in- 
stance. But I should infinitely prefer to talk 
matters over with you. Cannot you come 
down this spring? Even in this manufactur- 
ing part of the world spring looks beautiful. 
Stray violets and primroses are found in hag- 
gard localities where you would hardly look 
for them. Streams veiled by the factory 
smoke, and where the poisoned fishes die, grow 
limpid as you trace them to their source, and 
you get those glimpses of pastoral beauties 
which delighted the tourists before money- 
making drove them away. You will be de- 



lighted with my curate, for the Additional 
Curates Aid Society gives me one. He is 
fresh from his Greek, and also full of zeal for 
his work. 

' Ever affectionately yours, 

' G. E. L.' 




I DO not see why I should not include mar- 
riage among the turning-points of life, as 
indeed it is one of the most important of all. 
I am afraid, perhaps, that I am encroaching 
upon the domains of the novelists, who have 
appropriated this literary region very much to 
themselves. Perhaps young people, too, would 
hardly care to listen to any matter-of-fact 
discussion on concerns where they arrogate to 
themselves the right of doing pretty well as 
they please. But the subject naturally belongs 
ta my programme, and I proceed to discuss it. 
I really think, too, that it is a matter that 
eminently requires discussion. It is lament- 
able to see how many boys and girls become 
engaged and marry without any serious 
thought ; how silly people will only treat the 


subject with smiles and giggles, and how 
fathers and mothers avoid giving counsel and 
advice to their children on such matters. 

It was the well-known remark of some cele- 
brated man that, if marriages were simply- 
ordered and adjusted by judicial authority, 
they would prove just as happy as they are 
now. I read the other day, in 'A Clergyman's 
Diary of the Seventeenth Century,' reprinted by 
an archaeological society, a very sensible letter 
from the rector of a parish, who makes a due 
oflfer of his niece in marriage to the son of a 
neighbouring clergyman, and doubts not but 
the young girl will prove obedient to his wishes. 
Something, perhaps, is to be said in favour of 
such a scheme. There are certainly some 
people in the world who cannot be trusted 
to make marriages for themselves, and for 
them it is perhaps quite as well that such 
things should be settled for them. 

As an example of this plan, which Dr. 
Johnson recommended, we take good Bishop 
Hall's experience when he was settled ' in the 
sweet and civil county of Suffolk ' : — 

' The uncouth solitariness of my life, and 


the extreme incommodity of my single house- 
keeping, drew my thoughts after two years to 
condescend to the necessity of the married 
state, which God no less strangely provided 
for me ; for walking from the church on 
Monday in the Whitsun week with a grave 
and reverend minister, Mr. Grandidge, I saw 
a comely and modest gentlewoman standing at 
the door of that house where we were invited 
to a wedding dinner, and enquiring of that 
worthy friend whether he knew her, "Yes," 
quoth he, " I know her well, and have bespoken 
her for your wife." When I further demanded 
an account of that answer, he told me she was 
the daughter of a gentleman whom he much 
respected, Mr. George Winniflfe, of Breten- 
ham ; that, out of an opinion had of the fitness 
of that match for me, he had already treated 
with her father of it, whom he found very 
apt to entertain it, advising me not to neglect 
the opportunity, and not concealing the just 
praises of the modesty, piety, and good dis- 
position and other virtues that were lodged 
in that seemly presence. I listened to the 
motion as sent from God ; and at last, upon 


due prosecution, happily prevailed, enjoying 
the company of that helpmeet for the space of 
forty-nine years.' 

Schlegel, in his 'Philosophy of Life,' has 
some fertile thoughts on the subject: — 

' Lastly^ we will now consider that other 
instinct in our nature, which, even as the 
strongest, most requires moral regulation and 
treatment. By all noble natures among civi- 
lized nations in their best and purest times, 
this instinct has, by means of various moral 
relations, been spontaneously associated with a 
higher element. And indeed, taken simply as 
inclination, it possesses some degree of affinity 
therewith. Such a strong inclination and 
hearty love, elevated to the bonds of fidelity, 
receives thereby a solemn consecration, and 
is even by the Divine dispensation regarded as 
a sanctuary. And it is in truth the moral 
sanctuary of earthly existence, on which God's 
first and earliest blessing still rests. It is, 
moreover, the foundation on which is built the 
happiness and the moral welfare of races and 
nations. This soul-connecting link of love, 
which constitutes the family union, is the 


source from wliich emanate the strong and 
beautiful ties of a mother's love, of filial duty, 
and of fraternal affection between brethren and 
kindred, which together make up the invisible 
soul, and, as it were, the inner vital fluid of the 
nerves of human society. And here, too, the 
great family problem of education must be taken 
into account, and by education I mean the 
whole moral training of the rising generation. 
* For however numerous and excellent may 
be the institutions founded by the State or 
conducted by private mdividuals, f6r special 
branches and objects, or for particular classes 
and ages, still, on the whole, education must 
be regarded as pre-emiBently the business 
and duty of the family. For it is in the 
family that education commences, and there 
also it terminates and concludes at the moment 
when the young man mature of mind and 
years, and the grown-up maiden, leave the 
paternal roof to found a new family of their 
own. In seasons of danger, and of wide- 
spread and stalking corruption, men are wont 
to feel — but often, alas ! too late — how entirely 
the whole frame both of human and political 


society rests on this foundation of the family 
union. Not merely by the phenomena of our 
own times, but by the examples of the most 
civilized nations of antiquity may this truth 
be historically proved, and numerous passages 
can be adduced from their great historians in 
confirmation of it. In all times, and in all 
places, a moral revolution vdthin the domestic 
circle has preceded the public outbreaks of 
general anarchy which have thrown whole 
nations into confusion, and undermined the 
best-ordered and wisely-constituted States. 
When all the principal joists of a building have 
started, and all its stays and fastenings, from 
the roof to the foundation, have become loose, 
then will the first storm of accident easily 
demolish the whole structure, or the first 
spark set the dry and rotten edifice in flames/ 
The world in general looks simply to the 
question of the prudence or improvidence 
of marriage, and whether the young people 
can afibrd to marry. Some time ago there 
was a very hot discussion on the three hun- 
dred a-year question, and lately a London 
firm has given notice to its employes that 


any clerk marrying on a less salary than 
a hundred and fifty a year thereby loses his 
situation. It may be questioned whether such a 
rule is not arbitrary and unjust, possibly 
illegal. Our law rightly condemns anything 
that acts in restraint of marriage. We may 
see in France the full effect of subordinating 
marriage and offspring to mere considerations 
of convenience. The population is a stationary 
population. It either increases very slightly 
or slightly falls back. The moral life of the 
nation has been seriously affected by its theory 
of marriage. When the T^pir of 1870 broke 
out, France and Germany were almost exactly 
balanced in population. After the lapse of a 
certain number of years, according to ordinary 
calculations, the population of Germany will 
be double that of France. It is not the 
policy of any State to restrict marriage, nor 
yet of any society to tacitly prohibit it. But 
young men who marry without adequate 
means should have the probable facts of future 
life put very strongly before them. To 
such a one his nearest friend would have a 
right to say, ' If you declare that you really 


wish to get married on the broad ground that 
you are a man, and that your rights as a 
man underlie the rights of society, and that 
you have succeeded in bringing about that 
view of the case in the mind of another, I will 
not dispute your right to do so. But you 
cannot play fast and loose with society. You 
cannot say that you will not think of society 
when you marry without an adequate in- 
come, and yet, when you marry, fall into 
all kinds of difficulties, because your in- 
come is insufficient. If you are prepared to 
live very plainly, to forego luxuries, to do 
without servants, to work hard and unremit- 
tingly, to abandon the interchange of social 
civilities, to emigrate, if need be, to the back- 
woods of Canada, to face manfully every un- 
known chance of hard life which an impecu- 
nious marriage may bring with it, then I 
think that you have a fair right to marry, but 
remember what is written in the bond.' I 
am bound to say that when people have taken 
this clear, sensible view of the subject, and 
have acted accordingly, although they may 
have very hard lives at first, yet, in the long 


run, they make up for an unfavourable start, 
and do just as well, or perhaps a little better, 
than others. 

But the material view of marriage is alto- 
gether inferior to the moral view. Where 
the unhappiness of married life is in one in- 
stance due to limited means, in a dozen in 
stances it is due to otJier causes. English 
people in general exaggerate the money diffi- 
culty, and- underrate the moral difficulty. The 
great consideration which a man has to face 
is not whether his choice will bring poverty, 
but whether it has been a right choice at all. 
Happiness in married life is not very much 
aflfected by outward circumstances. Charles 
Dickens, in his ' David Copperfield,' dwells on 
the fact that ' there is no incompatibihty like 
that of mind and purpose.' This is a subject 
on which the New Testament speaks very 
plainly. ' How can two walk together unless 
they are agreed?' St. P^ul asks how the 
wife can have any security that she will save 
her husband, or how the husband can have 
any security that he will save his wife. As 
the passage stands in our English version, 


Cor. vii. 16, it is probably a mis-translation, 
the real paraphrase being, ' Do not insist on 
a reluctant union; for thou knowest not 
whether there is such a prospect of convert- 
ing thy heathen partner as to make such a 
union desirable.' The Church has generally 
taken the passage in the received sense: 
* and it is perhaps not too much to say,' says 
Dean Stanley, ' that this passage thus inter- 
preted had a direct influence on the mar- 
riage of Clotilda with Clovis and Bertha with 
Ethelbert, and consequently on the subsequent 
conversion of the two great kingdoms of Eng- 
land and France to the Christian faith. Hence 
although this particular interpretation is erro- 
neous, and may well give way to that which 
turns it into a solemn warning against the 
gambUng spirit which intrudes itself even 
into the most solemn matters, yet the prin- 
ciple on which the old interpretation is 
founded is sufficiently expressed in the four- 
teenth verse, which distinctly lays down the 
rule that domestic union can reconcile the 
greatest dijfferences of religious belief.' 

An immense amount of unhappiness is found 


in married life. No religious person can have 
any true basis of happiness unless the partner 
is religious. There may be the deepest happi- 
ness between married people whose lives beat 
harmoniously to the impulse of the same great 
principles. I believe also that there may be 
a great amount of happiness between people 
who are not, as are called believers, when 
their minds and tastes are in harmony, and 
they belong to the same order of life. Unequal 
marriages are almost uniformly unhappy. For 
a religious person to be yoked with one who is 
decidedly irreligious can only be provocative 
of the keenest misery. 

It is misery for which there is not the 
slightest palliation, especially for the woman. 
When we hear of trouble and unhappiness in 
married life, the usual thing said is that there 
are faults on both sides. Both being human, 
that can be well believed. But in looking 
closely at the history of such cases, we can 
generally see that the fault lies originally or 
principally in one direction or another. Self- 
will, self-indulgence, the despising of know- 
ledge, and reproof, often make up the unamiable 


and unchristian character that is incompatible 
with happiness. 

I remember very well a poor man coming 
to me one day to give me a recital of his sor- 
rows, and to ask my advice. It was a sad 
business. He had been married many years, 
and his married life was that of chronic misery. 
He was in a very bad state of health, and I 
have no doubt but mental misery had conduced 
to it. His wife had been an evU angel to him. 
She had neglected him in his illness, she had 
encouraged her children in bad ways, she had 
poisoned their minds against him, had run up 
bills, had got drunk, had ruined his good 
name and his business, had committed every 
iniquity except that last injury which would 
give him a legal title to redress. He came to 
ask me whether he was not justified in sepa- 
rating from her, and taking lodgings apart by 
himself. It was not a question that I liked 
to have put to me, and I hardly knew how to 
answer or refrain from answering. If the 
woman would only leave him instead of his 
leaving the woman the matter would be easy. 
St. Paul says that a brother or sister is not in 

VOL. I. Q 


bondage in such cases, and John Wesley has 
given us a famous precedent, non dimisi^ non 
revocabo. At last I thought I saw my way. 
If his health really required, say for the sake 
of quiet and good nursing, that he should 
leave his wife, I thought that he would be 
justified in so doing. But I told him that he 
must be very carefiil not to leave his wife 
simply through any want of good temper or 
forbearance on his part, and that he should 
examine himself very carefully whether his 
own conduct might not give her very just 
grounds of offence. From all that I had 
been able to learn of the history of the case, 
the rights of this question lay entirely on the 
side of the husband. I comforted the poor 
man as well as I might, and he went back to 
his home. He never left his bad wife, how- 
ever. He was too ill to bear any removal. 
He languished day by day ; his evil angel 
remaining in the poor house they had, and few 
could have divined that life-to-death antago- 
nism between them. He died of consumption. • 
Death was the only physician for his disease ; 
according to the old Greek proverb, jxoVo^ 



Tarpo^ flavaros-. That ' happy issue out of all 
their afflictions/ of which the Church prayer 
speaks, as a rule, simply means death. 

It is this — the irrevocable nature of the 
marriage tie, the consciousness that nothing 
but death, which it were almost murder to 
wish for, or sin that is worse than death, can 
dissolve that tie — ^which, far more than any 
pecuniary considerations, should make men 
pause long and considerately before they 
marry. The whole shape and colour of 
life are determined by this transaction. They 
surround a man with a network of circum- 
stances which subjugates him, unless in the 
case of a lofty ideal or a determined cha- 
racter. Jeremy Taylor's famous apologue 
will be remembered : ' The stags in the Greek 
epigram, whose knees were clogged with 
frozen snow upon the mountains, came down 
to the brooks of the valleys, hoping to thstw 
their joints with the waters of the stream; 
but there the frost overtook them, and bound 
them fast in ice, till the young herdsmen took 
them in their strange snare. It is the unhappy 
chance of many men, finding many incon- 



veniences on the mountains of single life, they 
descend into the valleys of marriage to refresh 
their troubles ; and there they enter into fet- 
ters, and are bound to sorrow by the cords of 
a man's or a woman's peevishness.' Surely a 
smile must have passed over the lips of some 
of his hearers as they listened to this quaint 
imagery. A still more ungallant simile 
may be found. There was a saintly bishop 
who in one of his sermons likened matrimony to 
a man putting his hand into a bag of serpents, 
in the hope that he might draw out an eel. That 
W9,s certainly a very unpleasing similitude. 
It is most probable that the ladies might be 
able to put matters in a juster and more im- 
partial light. There are several historical 
characters who are supposed to have their 
matrimonial wrongs strongly established. 
Such was Job with his wife, and Socrates with 
his Xanthippe, and Richard Hooker rocking 
the cradle, and John Wesley having his 
whiskers pulled. Leaving the ancient prece- 
dents alone, I am of opinion that Mrs. Richard 
Hooker and Mrs. John Wesley might still 
have a strong case of their own to put. But 


whichever side we adopt in such quarrels, the 
fact of the intense unhappiness of the inter- 
necine quarrel of a lifetime cannot be ex- 
aggerated. Hooker might still write his books, 
or Wesley preach his sermons, but for most 
men the usefulness as well as the happiness of 
life might be irretrievably marred. 

Isaak Walton, after his quaint fashion, 
finds a consolation for his ' good Richard ' in 
the thought that ' affliction is a divine diet.' 
That may be so, but still the carnal mind will 
feel that it is not a diet to which it takes 
naturally. Such diet becomes still more un- 
palatable when it is considered that it comes 
not in any ordinary course of God's provi- 
dence, but simply in consequence of stupidity 
or self-will. It is quite true that even such 
untoward events may be graciously over- 
ruled to work out good ; much good that is 
plainly visible, much good that may be dimly 
surmised or hoped for. Still, though much 
good may be attained, it is possible and likely 
that a still higher good may be lost ; and it 
is a sad and sorrowful thing when a man or 
woman is forced to confess that the best good 


of earth has been recklessly thrown away, 
and that the only hopes of happiness must be 
placed beyond the grave. 

Neither, on the simply prudential grounds, 
is the pecuniary question the one that is 
really fundamental. The question of health 
and constitution is deeply important. A little 
conversation with the officers of an insm'ance 
company would be highly beneficial to many 
people who are rushing into matrimony with- 
out a thought of consequences. It is im- 
portant to know that there is no constitutional 
taint; and even when such a taint has been 
very slight, right-minded persons have 
thought it best to abstain from marriage. 
No man has a right to bring children into 
the world condemned to a life of disease and 
a premature death. Moreover, the question 
of family and connections are, I will not say 
overpowering considerations to determine the 
character of a marriage, but still matters of a 
deep importance. A just-minded man will 
be careful of the interests of his children yet 
unborn. For the same reason a man ought 
to be very careful what kind of mother he is 



about to give his children. The nature of their 
family connection will be of the highest im- 
portance to the children of a marriage. Is 
she one likely to pray for them, to instruct 
them, to give them generous and liberal ideas, 
to give them the training that shall be ele- 
vated, graceful, and religious, to make them 
regard their parents with intensest love and 
gratitude? Then the family history of an 
individual is worthy of the deepest attention. 
It is a common saying, involving a very large 
amount of truth, that it takes three genera- 
tions to make a gentleman. The people who 
know how to make money, and the people 
who know how to spend money, are very 
dijfferent kind of people. A turbid stream 
may run refined in time, but we do not care 
for it much during the clearing process. It 
is remarkable how both bodily and mental 
peculiarities are transmitted. You may look 
at this matter either in a philosophical point 
of view or in a practical point of view. Mr, 
Darwin will instruct you in the first, and 
George Eliot in the second; but, in fact, each 
style flows into the other. One or two 



curious points may be said to have occi 
in relation to marriage, or rather to 
man^age. It belongs to that subject ol 
relations between the sexes on which 
difficult to touch, but which one hardly 
wisely in leaving untouched. As a 
whenever we see some very sensational 
in the newspapers, involving some atro{ 
cruelty or murder, we may be quite sure 
immorality lies at the root of the ma 
There is a family relationsliip among al' 
vices, and it would really appear that en 
and lust are especially connected. Again 
again, in those hideous criminal reports 
reflect the ugly side of our boasted mo 
civilisation, we see how sensuality has p 
the way for the abyss of crime. It is 
at all uncommon that the victim of 
passion becomes slain by another, and 
awful amount of infanticide in this cou 
shows how unhallowed feelings easily 
themselves to the most cruel and unnai 
crimes. It is infinitely better that a 
should marry, even if he has to face '. 
labour and many deprivations, rather 


add to the sum of misery that saddens and 
pollutes modern life. A very remarkable 
instance is that of Rush the murderer, in the 
notorious Jermyn case. The murderer was 
convicted chiefly on the testimony of a woman 
named Emily Sandford, who had consented 
to live with him under the most solemn pro- 
mise of marriage. In passing sentence 
upon the murderer, Lord Cranworth, then 
Baron Rolfe, reminded the wretched man 
that the policy of the law closed a wife's lips 
against her husband, and that if he had kept 
his solemn promise he would probably not 
have been convicted, in default of her tes- 
timony. We are sorry, even for a moment, 
to couple the illustrious name of Gothe with 
the obscure English murderer. But even 
Gothe may supply us with a moral. The bi- 
ographers of Gothe generally follow his career 
by tracking him from one love affair to another. 
In these matters he appears to have been a 
little heartless, or what modern society would 
consider rascally. ' She is perfect,' he says 
of his Katchen, ' and her only fault is that 
she loves me.' As Mr. G. H. Lewes says, 


' He teased her with trifles and idle suspicions ; 
was jealous without cause, convinced without 
reason; plagued her with fantastic quarrels, 
till at last her endurance was exhausted, and 
her love was washed away in tears.' Mr. 
Lewes eloquently pleads for his great 
favourite. He ingeniously says : ' Genius 
has an orbit of its own. Its orbit is not 
necessarily eccentric, although it must often 
appear so, because its sweep is wide. Some- 
times it disregards domestic duties and minor 
morals in obeying the law of its own move- 
ment. Hence genius and morality are not 
always synonymous.' The special pleading of 
the philosopher is certainly amusing. Gothe 
missed infinitely much, and perhaps marred 
the perfection of his genius by his unmanliness. 
The ties which he refused to form in man- 
hood with the high-souled Frederika, in ad- 
vanced life he formed with an ignorant and 
intemperate person. We are told of the ' turn- 
ing-point ' of marriage in Gothe's case. One 
morning he was accosted in the park of Wei- 
mar by a young, bright-eyed girl, who, with 
many reverences, presented a petition to him. 



He fell in love with her, but with character- 
istic selfishness he dreaded marriage. He 
took her to his house, he himself regarding 
this as a kind of morganatic marriage, but the 
world at large as a scandalous liaison. Many 
years afterwards, when he was not far . from 
sixty, he formally married her. He lived 
with her twenty- eight years, and he keenly re- 
gretted her loss. He would have been hap-" 
pier and better if he had married her at once ; 
happier still if he had been true to Christine. 
Most men of the world are acquainted with 
various instances in which selfish men have 
placed weak, loving women in a position un- 
utterably false and debasing for many years, 
and have tardily found it best to enter into the 
union which years before it would have been 
for their interest and happiness to have 
completed. It is doubtless in the issue infi- 
nitely worse for those who have never made 
any reparation. Those who in any degree have 
watched the course of human life know the 
infinite tragedy and unhappiness attributable 
to the immoral neglect of marriage. 

The pretty story of * John Halifax, Gentle- 


man/ gives us an account how a young lady 
honoured with her love the honest young tan- 
ner. He knew nothing of his family, but 
through an old inscription in a book he be- 
lieved he was a gentleman by birth, and, what 
was much more important, he always showed 
himself a gentleman in the details and all 
the aims of his life. A very similar story 
is told of Hugh Miller, the stonemason of 
Cromarty. In his ' Schools and Schoolmasters/ 
he describes how he first met Lydia Frazer, 
his future wife. She ' came hurriedly tripping 
down the garden walk, very pretty, her com- 
plexion rather that of a fair child than a 
grown woman.' The Mackenzies considered 
themselves superior to the Millers, and the 
mother required that the intimacy should be 
broken off. The mother removed the inter- 
dict, but marriage was to be considered out 
of the question. The matter ended, as might 
be expected, and forms one of the prettiest 
stories of modem biography. 

The love passages in the life of Dr. Hamil- 
ton are very interesting. I remember meet- 
ing him at Dartmoor one summer a year or 


two before he died. I had attended the ser- 
vice held in the prison, where the worthy 
chaplain preached on the text, ' Take no 
thought for the morrow,' to some five hun- 
dred gentlemen in yellow who wished nothing 
better than that they should be allowed to 
take thought. Near to me in the gallery was 
a man with a grave, sweet, serious face, who 
attracted my attention, and this was Dr. 
Hamilton. I was presently introduced to 
him, and we had some lunch together, and I 
foimd him a charming companion. Looking 
at his ' Life ' the other day, I found some ex- 
cellent love letters. It ought to be said that 
he was the settled minister of a Presbyterian 
congregation before he wrote such letters, and 
his * Annie ' must have been a very sensible girl 
to have accepted such preaching love letters. 
It seems that he was engaged to his affianced 
when she was very young, and with the under- 
standing that the marriage was not to take 
place for a considerable time. Dr. Hamilton 
writes to his fiancee : — 

' I am glad you are so fond of work and that 
you have a taste for music. The only other 


thing about which I am anxious is your in- 
formation. The world is fiiU of accomplished 
and ignorant women, who can dance, arid draw, 
and embroider, but whose company is far more 
irksome than the solitary confinement of Pen- 
tonville prison. If you have, what you can 
so easily get, a well-fumished mind (by add- 
ing diligently to the knowledge you have 
already attained), you will possess what few 
of your lady sisters have. Two hours of solid 
reading daily, in which I would gladly be a 
sharer on the days I- am at Willenhall, 
would be a goodly acquisition in the course of 
a year. . . .' Yesterday I went back to 
the same library, and borrowed the last 
volume, and in reading it was surprised and 
happy to find that the name of the lady to 
whom he owed nearly ' all the real happiness 
of his life * was Annie. She was a remarkable 
person, and theirs was a more remarkable 
love. It is likely that we too who have to 
wait some time for our completed happiness 
on earth may again have to wait a little while 
— the one in the absence of the other — for our 
completed happiness in heaven. To take an- 

MARRIAGE. .23.9 

other instance, when Lady Romilly died, poor 
Sir Samuel had no comforter to go to. His 
heart broke, and in the frenzy of his grief he 
destroyed himself. 

So in Mr. EUiott's ' Life ' of Lord Haddo, 
afterwards fifth Earl of Aberdeen, we have the 
speech which he made on the occasion of his 
daughter's marriage : — ' Probably there are 
many fathers present who know what a 
parent's feelings are in parting with a beloved 
daughter ; and that, joyful as the occasion is, 
it is not without saddening, or at least soften- 
ing influences. The religious strain in which 
Lord Kintore spoke, and the kind manner in 
which you received his remarks, emboldens 
me to ask for your prayers at the approach- 
ing marriage celebration ; — ^that the young 
couple about to be united may not only be 
fellow-helpers in the journey of life, but may 
mrutually promote each other's eternal salva- 
tion. I have the happiness to know that my 
future son-in-law is not ashamed to confess 
his desire to live for something better than 
the world can bestow, and that my daughter 
and her intended husband do not hesitate to 


avow on this their wedding day their inten- 
tion of devoting themselves, and all they have, 
to the service of the Lord Jesus. Thus is 
theirs the certainty that when their earthly 
union shall be terminated by death, they will 
be able (whichever be the survivor) to look 
forward to a reunion in Christ's heavenly 
kingdom for all eternity.' 

It is a beautiful and instructive love-story 
which we read in the ' Memoirs' of Henry Venn 
Elliott, of Brighton. He asked of her father 
for ' a jewel, which, though unworthy in him- 
self, he would wear most delicately, and trea- 
sure as his life.' Mr. EUiott's own letters tell 
the story, and there is hardly any prettier 
story in any book of fiction than that gradu- 
ally revealed by these religious letters. 

* I have made my proposals to Julia Mar- 
shall, and am accepted by the parents, if Julia 
consents. She will see me, and then decide. 
It was a bold step I took. But my mind was 
so agitated, since hope sprang up, that I have 
never had a day's quiet, or a night's usual 
rest since. I believe I am following my 
Lord's gracious guiding. If ever I committed 


my way to Him, it was in this instance. He 
only knows how it will end. It has altogether 
been a wonderful story.* 

* Kejoice with me,' he says. ' Julia has ac- 
cepted me. A few hours after I wrote my de- 
jected letter to my beloved mother, I had a 
walk of two hours with my Julia, and instead of 
keeping me in long suspense and probation, 
she generously plighted her precious heart in 
exchange for mine. How joyful was I ! and 
my heart at this moment overflows with thank- 
fulness to God, who has led me by the right 
way to the right person.' 

' Deeply as I have loved Julia, and highly 
as I valued her, I find every day fresh and 
fresh reason to bless God, who has provided for 
me such a treasure. And her sentiments are so 
just, so holy, so pure, so gentle; all her beha- 
viour is so modest and winning; her heart so 
confiding and affectionate ; her manner so de- 
licate and lady-like ; her mind so richly fur- 
nished, and so finely constituted in its original 
powers, that I find in her nothing to be 
changed, and everjrthing to be loved. She is, 
I do assure you, an exquisite creature ; ad- 

VOL. I. R 


vanced from the rudiments in which she ap- 
peared at Brighton to a mature perfection, 
not only of Christian character, but also of 
manners and influence, which prove her to 
be most richly qualified to adorn the station 
which is to be hers, and to superintend all 
the female departments of my church. I am, 
I confess, in danger of making an idol of her, 
but I pray day by day that my love and per^ 
petual complacency in her, in all she says, in 
all she does, in all she appears, may be sub- 
mitted and consecrated to the Lord. He gave 
me this most precious gift, and I strive to 
carry it to Him, and to beseech Him that I 
may really possess it as His gift, as a bond of 
deeper gratitude and love to the Giver, and as 
a rich talent to be used in His service. Already 
we have begun some religious work, and 
every morning we read the Scriptures together. 
" Bless the Lord, my soul, and let all that 
is within me bless His Holy name." ' 

To these extracts I will venture to add one 
from Bishop Dupanloup's wise little book La 
Femme stvdieuse : — ' C'est d'avance et d^s les 
premiers jours de leur mariage, que de jeunes 


epoux doivent mediter de concert un plan 
de vie, plan large et serieux, embrassant 
Tensemble: les devoirs mutuels, la carrifere, 
la position du chef de famille dans son pays, 
les enfants, leur avenir; les relations sociales; 
la vie priv^e; T&ge mAr; enfin la vieillesse 
et la mort ; Texistence, en un mot, dans ses 
grandes phases. Et c'est avec ces grandes 
lignes que tous leurs actes, tout d^abord et 
des le commencement, doivent ^tre mis en 
accord. De cette fegon seulement une femme 
pourra assurer la bont^ et Tunit^ de sa vie, et 
^viter les tristes disaccords qui se font dans 
une existence abandonn^e k I'aventure, entre 
la jeune femme et la femme en cheveux 
blancs. Tandis qu'au contraire, si la vie est 
bien ordonn^e, il pent y avoir un accord 
merveilleux entre les ^Iges difESrents que Dieu 
fait passer sur sa t^te, et qu'elle doit suc- 
cessivement traverser, repandant le charme 
et le bien autour d'elle.' 





Travel brings its special ' moments/ It 
is much when one who has lived for years 
in a narrow circle first leaves the limits 
of early life and passes to a different sphere 
and to wider interests. What a moment is 
that of first foreign travel ! What a moment 
to many first to behold the sea ! though, like 
GeMvy one may have murmured — 

Is this the mighty ocean ? is this all ? 

But first to leave the old shores of Albion, 
and to sail across the waters to new scenes, 
which almost seem to present as it were the 
life of another planet ; first to see the low- 
lying shore of Holland with the windmills 
and the boundless pastures, or 'the palms 
and temples of the South!' Most people who 


TRA VEL. 245 

visit Jerusalem, first see it with the feelings 
which Tasso so eloquently ascribes to the 
army of the first Crusaders. Very often 
a keen intellectual expansion is afibrded by 
foreign travel. After Lord Macaulay had 
hved in Indiii — we believe he had meditated 
returning there again at the last — there was a 
greater richness and expansiveness in his style. 
After Burke had thoroughly worked through 
and elaborated Indian subjects, his gorgeous 
rhetoric flowered to the uttermost. It may 
indeed be said that some knowledge and 
familiarity with Oriental subjects is abso- 
lutely necessary for any completeness of 
mental vision. Otherwise only one hemi- 
sphere of life and thought is visible to us. 

This is the broadest aspect. But the sub- 
ject of travel may be brought within very 
narrow Umits, expandmg or diminishmg with 
each man's experience. ^ 

There is no doubt that home and foreign 
travel, and, indeed, change of any kind, is 
one of the most beneficial agencies that can 
be brought to bear on our moral and physical 
wellbeing. Sir Henry Holland, in one of his 


medical essays, very strongly advocates change 
of scene and air in the case of a supposed 
patient. If he cannot travel he had better go 
from one room to another, and if he cannot 
leave his room the furniture of the room had 
better be changed. When all medical art 
has failed, the simple rational proceeding of a 
little travel has wrought wonders. The world 
is diseased and out of joint, and in one sense 
we are all valetudinarians. Perhaps no man 
is very long free from distempered fancies 
and worrying thoughts, and, to use Baconian 
language roughly, his private den is soon 
invaded by unpleasing idols. A man ordi- 
narily finds that he is able to cast away much 
worry and fret by an easy walk into the clear 
sunshine and liberal air. Travel is an ex- 
tension of this. Before the welcome train has 
borne you across country to the next sta- 
tion, the cares and^anxieties which seemed so 
oppressive shrink to their petty local and 
provincial measure. The eye is pleased by 
shifting changes, the mind animated by the 
variety of objects, and, without minutely 
analysing the cause, in most cases a good 

TRA VEL. 247 

result is easily perceivable* It is to be care- 
fully observed that a due measure and pro- 
portion should be maintained in reference to 
rest and travel. There is many a medicine 
an over-dose of which produces the very 
effects which it was intended to obviate. 
One who is always travelling loses the capa- 
city of the enjoyment of travel. The ever- vary- 
ing apartment which receives him night after 
night becomes as monotonous as the familiar 
four walls and a ceiling of which he had been 
tired, and each fresh landscape is beheld 
with the satiety of one who is growing very 
weary with his inspection of a gallery of 
pictures. The most welcome change is that 
of rest and permanence, and the most brilliant 
flash of travel that which lands us at home 

Human unity is made up of pairs of con* 
tradictions. Mankind, according to a phrase 
which Coleridge borrowed from the German, 
are made up of Aristotelians and Platonists, 
and, according to Mr. Gladstone, of dog-lovers 
and dog-haters. These contradictions may be 
multiplied to any extent, and the travelling 


and the non-travelling will hold as good as 
any other. There are many who, according 
to the saying, never feel at home except when 
they are abroad. Their eye is not satisfied 
with seeing, nor the ear with hearing. They 
are almost Cain-like; they wander like the 
Wandering Jew. They have tasted of travel, 
and the taste has left an insatiable lust of 
locomotion. They have 

Become a name 
For always roaming with an hungry heart .... 
Yet all experience an arch where thro' 
Gleams that untravelled world. 

Now, you will find many persons who 
have a very horror of travelling. For them 
a distant horizon has no charm or meaning. 
The instinct of adhesiveness is strong upon 
them. Only for the briefest flight can they 
exalt their minds beyond petty and local 
interests. It is chiefly those who make it ' 
their business to know something of the ways 
and thoughts of the extreme poor who see 
this phase of incurious and inert life. I have 
very repeatedly met this; notably, I re- 
member, on the south coast of Cornwall, 


TRA VEL. 249 

where again and again the nearest market 
town was the extreme limit on the west, 
and all the east was gloriously tenninated at 
Plymouth. There were the flammantia mcenia 
mundi. All beyond was void or limbo. Now, 
while remembering that the instinct of travel 
should work within due limitations, and that 
there are worse forms of absenteeism than 
the common notion of it presents, to those who 
believe that the cultivation of our intellectual 
powers is only second in importance to moral 
obligations, this travel itself becomes little 
else than a moral obligation binding on the 
non-travelling part of the community. 

And if this seems hard on the non-travel- 
lers, I am sure that this duty, like every 
other, is quite possible of fulfilment. Any 
home-staying person may easily make ex- 
periment of this. Let any such person make 
his home the centre of a circle, no radius of 
which shall extend beyond the manageable 
limits of a day's expedition. I am sure that 
he will soon be able to draw up a list of in- 
teresting localities, for hardly a square mile 
of our crowded historic England is free fi'om 


IIB |_M| ■IIIBI_.J_ . !■ I -l' 

such. Nothing is more commonly observed — 
and each such instance implies a real re- 
proach — than that strangers will often come 
many miles to view what an inhabitant has 
never made any effort to examine. Many a 
man who now leads a mere vegetable life 
might find a constant source of interest and 
change in trying to make his survey of an 
interesting neighbourhood accurate and ex- 
haustive. If we employ this little talent 
aright, a larger talent will, doubtless, be con- 
fided to us. This brings us to the compara- 
tive question of home or continental travel* 
Now, home travel is almost the instinct of 
duty and patriotism. Some amoimt of home 
travel is absolutely necessary in order to 
enable us to comprehend this England of 
ours aright. We are not yet arrived at that 
utterly stereotyped condition of society to 
which certain cosmopolitans think that we 
are come. Still there are many angular, or 
rather very triangular, differences between 
Lancashire, Kent, and Cornwall. The people 
of the Orkney Isles and the people of the SciUy 
Isles are, I believe, very much like each other, 

TRAVEL. 251 

but many shades of difference lie between the 
two extremes. There are very many country 
people who consider that London is situated 
in partibus^ and that going into the shires is 
like going beyond seas.. There is a more 
thorough change of scene in foreign travel, 
and more things worth seeing abroad than 
at home. Yet it seems obviously designed 
that an Englishman should, for the main 
part, reside in England. Those lessons of 
catholicity and toleration which are certaialy 
among the best religious lessons which we 
may derive from foreign travel, may assur- 
edly also be learned in the narrowest circuit 
we have indicated. If a distinguished Frenck 
scholar has ventured to write his Journey 
round his Eoom^ an Englishman may also 
derive great profit from any journey round 
his parish ; if he is at pains to compre* 
hend and appreciate other classes other 
than his own class, other forms of worship 
other than his own form. Still the wider 
the circle of travel the more ample will be 
the range of observation and induction. It 
is the privilege of a Howard to make all 


travel strictly subservient to Christian phi- 
lanthropy. We cannot all be Howards, albeit 
Christian philanthropy* is never beyond the 
reach of any traveller ; yet we may smooth 
our angles, remove our prejudices, make our- 
selves wiser and more charitable by using 
candid eyes, and thus promote peace and 
goodwill. Travel will constantly enable us 
to observe the real defects of our own system 
of things, and to detect the improvements 
which can be easily engrafted. As this world 
is the appointed theatre for man's energies 
and capabilities of improvement, every posi- 
tive and material good has a divine sanction 
and a heavenly meaning. If we were seek- 
ing to deal with the subject in a formal 
and exhaustive way, we might trace many 
instances in which travel has been the ap- 
pointed agency for mitigating the sorrows and 
multiplying the blessings of humanity. 

There is a curious proverb relating to travel, 
the meaning of which ought to be cleared up, 
to the effect that at Rome we ought to do as 
the Romans do. The words are adopted in a 
restricted sense by persons of pronounced 

TRA VEL, 253 

* Anglican ' views, who, when in Roman Ca- 
tholic countries, make a point of attending the 
Roman Catholic service. Abroad the doors 
of churches and cathedrals always stand open, 
which in our land fear for the security of books 
and plate will not permit, and in a moment we 
may escape from the glare of the streets and 
the concourse of the crowd into the dim, cool, 
quiet aisle, and, should we see much that we 
disapprove, may yet breathe our prayer that 
those feeling after God may find Him, who is 
not far from any one of us, and for ourselves 
that we may be sound in faith and somid in 
the rule of life. The proverb has, moreover, 
another sense and a very mischievous one. 
One both of the blessings and the banes of 
travel is that it sets us free from ordinary re- 
straints. A certain pressure and constraint is 
upon every man in his usual home. Inasmuch 
as this conventionality is always encompassing 
us, and thereby the fluent lines of character 
threaten to harden into a rigid immobility, it 
is well that such restraint should at times be 
removed, if only that we may ascertain whether 
ours is a service which is perfect freedom. 


But many of the mass plead the proverb as an 
excuse for a licence and irregularity which 
public opinion would not permit them in their 
own country. There are special reasons at the 
present time, beyond those which always re- 
main strong and abiding reasons, why an 
English traveller at Rome, or whatever Rome 
stands for, should be an Englishman and not 
a Roman. It is well indeed that the English- 
man should lose his insularity and angularity; 
but he should always be keenly alive to his 
character of patriot and Christian. There is 
a great deal of foreign suspicion and dislike 
towards the English, which, to a great degree, 
they have earned by their own bad manners 
and evil communications. A Prussian entirely 
declines to believe that at the present time the 
Briton is ' the lord of human kind;' he thinks, 
indeed, that he is just as good as the Briton; 
indeed that, barring the conceit and the insuf- 
ferable over-estimate of material wealth, he is, 
with his needle gun, several degrees better. 
We have a national character which of late 
years has been fast going down in the estima- 
tion of foreign nations, but which every Eng- 

TRA VEL, 255 

lishman will use his endeavours to maintain at 
its just standard. The present condition of 
religion on the Continent must also deepen 
our impressions relative to the religious aspect 
of travel. There is everywhere a shivering, 
such as the prophet saw in vision, of the breath 
of life animating the dry bones. The southern 
nations at last appear to be working their way 
out in the direction of a religious reformation. 
Three centuries ago the boon was offered 
them, and not without great sorrow and 
struggle it was rejected, and now once more, 
as if in sibylline leaves, the offer is renewed. 
May this indeed, even here, prove * leaves for 
the healing of the nations ! ' As enlightened 
and religious Englishmen may still continue to 
think that they, with others, are repositariqs 
and guardians of the highest truths, so it must 
devolve upon them by all wise and kindly 
means to hand onwards to distant countries 
and centuries the torch of truth kindled from 
afar, but kept alive at their own altars. They 
will best do this not indeed by proselytising, 
not by seeking to impress their own local and 
temporary accidents of position on others, not 


by seeking an exact reproduction of their own 
ecclesiastical system on the part of foreign 
Churches, but by the manifestation of sym- 
pathy, goodness, and toleration, by well-consi* 
dered material assistance, by exemplifying a 
true catholicity and a real communion, and by 
setting an example of practical stainlessness 
and beneficence. In this way our travels may 
aid the wonderful order of events in the pre- 
sent age, and the reflex influence must inevit- 
ably be full of use and happiness to ourselves 
and our own land. 

For instance, the Church of England work 
now going on at Seville is of a very curious and 
interesting kind. It appears to indicate that 
the grave Spaniards who are leaving their own 
Church nevertheless give a distinct preference 
to the episcopal and liturgical system of the 
Church of England, compared with that severer 
Presbyterian type more generally adopted by 
Keformed Churches on the Continent. The 
English consular chaplain at Seville lately 
gave, at one of those drawing-room meetings 
which are common during the London sea- 
son, an account of the full introduction of 

TRAVEL, 257 

the machinery of a well- worked English parish 
into that magnificent historic city. There are 
day schools, Sunday schools, mission-houses, 
Bible classes ; and a large church, seating many 
hundreds and quite full, has been rented for 
performing our service in the Spanish lan- 
guage. The chaplain really appears to 
have shown some of that statesmanlike skill 
and ability which in mission work has been 
almost monopolised by Romanist ecclesiastics. 
As much as possible he keeps the foreign Eng- 
lish element out of sight from the sensitive 
Spaniards, and employs Spanish agents in his 
Church work. It may be said, indeed, that 
Presbyterianism is entirely unsuited to the 
genius of Italy and Spain. The tendency of 
the anti-Papal movement in these countries is 
towards mere negation; the bare repellant 
Puritan system does not suit the Southern na- 
ture. The Church of England offers many 
points of sjmoLpathy and contact in her regene- 
rated services to the historical forms of reli- 
gion in the South of Europe, and Seville is 
giving proof of the idea often expressed, that a 
spontaneous Reformation in the South would 
VOL. I. s 


most probably result in a system closely akin 
to the Anglican system. 

Let us next narrow the subject into more 
special considerations. In a religious sense 
the primary view of travelling is that we are 
enabled thereby to read God's handwriting in 
nature. That volume of nature, indeed, lies 
everywhere outspread before us. But travel- 
ling enables us to turn over so many more 
leaves of that volume. There is almost some- 
thing awful in the familiarity which many pure- 
hearted and able men have attained with na- 
ture, whereby they are able at sight to read off 
her splendid page, and to come nigher to the 
secret of the Almighty, by deciphering that 
revelation of Himself which He has given in 
the world that He has created — a revelation 
invisible, inaudible, to those who see with eyes 
that see not, and hear with ears that hear not. 
Our thought evermore should be with that 
* Almighty Artist, who paints every spring new 
landscapes on the earth and every evening 
new ones in the sky, whose sculptures are the 
melting clouds and the everlasting hills, and 
whose harp of countless strings includes each 


TRA VEL, 259 

note from the harebell's tinkle to the organic 
roll of ocean's thunder.' These words are from 
a Presbyterian clergyman, and I would paral- 
lel with them that most famous and beautiful 
sentence from John Henry Newman — * Every 
breath of air, and ray of light and heat, every 
beautiful prospect, is, as it were, the skirts 
of their garments, the waving of the robes 
of those whose faces see God in heaven.' 
The religious delight of scenery is a gift re- 
served for the pure in heart. To them all 
nature is like Memnon's harp, which met by 
the rising sun was recognised by all to give 
forth musical sounds, but to the initiated alone 
did the sounds resolve themselves into an in- 
telligible hymn : — 

I see a hand you cannot see, 
I hear a voice you cannot hear. 

The intellectual enjoyment of travel depends 
very much upon our sense of beauty and our 
susceptibility of being influenced by the laws 
of association. The sense of the beauty of 
scenery requires cultivation, and may be inde- 
finitely heightened and improved. With this 



sense the most ordinary aspect of nature has 
become vested with a poetical beauty denied 
to the grandest scenery. No one has done for 
the Himalayas what Mr. Tennyson has done 
for the fenny country of Lincolnshire. In this 
way, too, a very quiet and subdued landscape 
will give some men a sense of beauty and en- 
joyment denied to rich vulgarians, who * do ' 
all the choicest scenes of Europe in their own 

One meets with astonishing instances of 
utter insensibility on the part of travelling 
people on their travels. I have seen Oxford 
men smoking in the cabin of a steamer as 
they passed the finest scenery on the Rhine, 
and men fast asleep in the cabin as they 
passed the finest scenery on the Dart. The 
mention of the Rhine and the Dart recalls 
a curious anecdote which a distinguished 
friend once told me, which may well suggest 
questions both on self-deception and on the 
philosophy of travel. It is well known that 
in the west country the Dart is called the 
English Rhine, My friend met a Prussian 
gentleman on board the Dart steamer. The 

IRA VEL. 26r 

Prussian told him that he had heard the Dart 
called the English Rhine, and that he was now 
viewing the Dart in order to judge of the truth 
of the comparison. My friend happened to 
remark that of course he knew the Rhine very 
well. 'Not in the least,' was the reply; 'he 
haji only passed it once on the railway at Co- 
logne.' But being a German, and knowing all 
about the character of the people, their history 
and literature, he could evolve the idea of the 
Rhine out of his own consciousness. Given 
the history and the literature, the idea of 
the local sceneiy could always be evolved 
out of one's own internal being. 'For in- 
stance,' said the metaphysical German, ' I have 
never been to Switzerland, yet I am perfectly 
acquainted with Swiss scenery.' I am afraid 
his judgment would not be worth much on the 
mooted point respecting the Dart. One envies 
the facility with which an immense amount of 
travelling can be done without the inconvenient 
drawback of travelling expenses. It is a bold 
idea to supersede locomotion by the internal 

But though history and literature will not 


enable us thus to evolve scenery with perfect 
accuracy, it is quite impossible to enjoy 
scenery without literature and history. For 
the historian himself travelling is the abso- 
lutely necessary complement to study. What 
military historian can describe a battle without 
examining the field? Does not Mr. Froude 
pass a good deal of time at Simancas, and of 
course also inspects the localities which he de- 
scribes ? Did not Macaulay stay patiently in 
Devonshire to understand Sedgmoor, in Lon- 
donderry to comprehend its siege, in Scotland 
if only to give that famous description of 
Glencoe? Mr. Freeman diligently works 
up his battle-fields. And, without being a 
historian, an intelligent traveller will con- 
stantly be clearing up points of history to his 
own satisfaction, and will probably be able to 
contribute crumbs of valuable information to 
the elucidation of great subjects. There are 
many quarters where every trifle of accurate 
information is thankfully received. Great 
writers would not be able to produce great 
books, or great orators to make great speeches, 
without a measure of the assistance and co- 

TRA VEL. 263 

operation of humbler men in supplying ma- 
terials. A large part of the religious influ- 
ence of travel must mainly consist in the fact 
that travel is an instrument of knowledge. I 
know that the tree of knowledge, even as it 
proved in Eden, is sometimes as a tree of death, 
and its fruit as ashes to the taste. She is not 
the first, nor yet the second. Love, faith, 
duty, all transcend even the mighty claims 
that belong to her. But to grow in know- 
ledge is a religious obligation ; the wise man 
well said Hhat the soul be without know- 
ledge is not good.' Ignorance is one of the 
ugliest forms of sin. I wonder that so many 
practical Christians can sleep quietly in their 
beds when they know that they are so ab- 
sorbed in business that year glides after year 
without any perceptible addition to the stock 
of their knowledge and ideas. A wise man 
when he travels will utterly fail to look upon 
travel as a mere pleasurable change. He will 
regard it as a precious and comparatively rare 
means of intellectual culture. He will con- 
fess to himself that, after all, his seeing is 
but the seeing * through a glass darkly,' but 


lie is not without the presentiment that it will 
be good for him to be learning till the last 
day of his life, and that in some mysterious 
way the larger sum of his knowledge here is 
connected with richer fruitage of knowledge 

Knowledge, then, will make travel of more 
enjoyment, and travel will make knowledge of 
closer accuracy and higher use. We bring to 
an object much more than the object brings to 
us. Knowledge holds the key of all the as- 
sociations. To the men who know Hhe 
burial-places of memory yield up their dead/ 
This also gives what I would almost call a 
rarer and safer element of delight than the 
balm of the air or the beauty of the scene. 
For the mind tinges every object with the hue 
of its own mood. The man who is sorrowful 
or remorseful, despondent or despairing, will 
only momentarily be lulled by the symphonies 
and choric voices of nature. Rather her 
great glory will be withering and crushing, 
and the beauty of the summer sunset will be 
simply heart-breaking. I fully sympathise 

TRA VEL. 265 

with that frank pure glee of a poet whom I 
cannot unlearn to love and admire: 

I care not, Fortune, what you me deny : 
You cannot rob me of free Nature's grace ; 

You cannot shut the windows of the sky. 

Through which Aurora shows her blooming face» 

But the time comes when nature only gives 
us hard, scientific facts, unrelieved by much 
of free grace; and as for poor Aurora, she is 
among the dim, discrowned deities of a dis- 
carded mythology. But the intellectual plea- 
sures of travel are free fi:om this kind of in- 
certitude. When once the intellectual pleasure 
is aroused, when once the mental exertion is 
made, by the very fact the previous feelings 
are effectually displaced. When the mountain 
and. lake shed poetic inspu'ation it is because 
the peculiar genius of the mountain and lake 
is comprehended. What is the river of Pales- 
tine, or the river of Egypt, or the river of 
Germany, apart from that ' inspiration ' which 
belongs to each? It is a pure intellectual 
pleasure to see some chantry or monument in 
an old cathedral, where memory supplies 
comment and inspiration; to visit rocks and 


woods- associated with immortal pages of lite- 
rature and the memories of great men; to 
examine the cities and plains where the great 
historical battles and sieges of European 
history have occurred; to know thoroughly 
the royal palaces and baronial castles with 
which history's stateliest page is occupied, to- 
gether with the humble village, or the meaji 
abode, rural or urban, where some art or 
science had its rise, or which cradled the 
childhood of a nation's most illustrious son. 
Properly to understand the Low Countries 
requires a special preparation. The wealth of 
association m Italy, classical, mediaeval, and 
modern, is so great, that the best informed 
travellers will despair of overtaking it in its 
entirety; but every approximate step towards 
real knowledge will indefinitely help us to- 
wards deriving an intellectual, and there- 
fore religious, good from travel. A Christian 
man will also have a special pleasure in visit- 
ing places associated with religious history. 
In his case the association, and that alone, 
prompts the feeling which prompts the visit. 
A chance passenger near Salisbury sees 

TRA VEL. 267 

nothing at a little adjacent village in that 
curiously small church just opposite the 
rectory, encrusted with moss and ivy, and the 
little churchyard overgrown with weeds, es- 
pecially since, close at hand, there is the new 
and stately church, which can so worthily 
supply the wants of the vicinity. But George 
Herbert used to preach in that little church 
of Bemerton — ^preached the sermons which 
the public orator of Cambridge would preach 
so eloquently, and offered those very prayers, 
before and after service, which honest Izaak 
Walton has preserved for us, and this other 
church is a memorial to him, and without this 
little church might not have been. There is 
a smaller church yet, which is saying much — 
it must be the smallest, or nearly the smallest 
in England — at Bonchurch, in the Isle of 
Wight; and * within the sounding of the 
wave ' there is a graveyard monument where 
a raised cross at times flings a shadow on the 
tomb; But we recognise it as the grave of 
William Adams, the sweet-natured scholar 
who wrote the ' Shadow of the Cross,' and 
was the most accomplished master of modern 


allegory. That cliiircli of Hursley in Hamp- 
shire, with its spire so conspicuous for miles, 
over upland and down, would arrest the at- 
tention of any beholder by its completeness 
and richness of restoration ; but for those who 
knew and loved the author of the ' Christian 
Year,' in that and other books, it will have a 
depth and tenderness of association in con- 
nection with their own holiest experiences, 
which the material beauty of the fabric by 
itself would be powerless to evoke. In every 
great scene of the world's history there is 
something to stir the breath and quicken the 
heart ; we feel, to use Dr. Johnson's famous 
language, when visiting lona, that it is im- 
possible to pass unmoved; there is something 
which elevates our piety and patriotism; we 
iare advanced in the dignity of thinking beings. 
Indeed, when we visit the scenes associated 
with a good man's orbed and completed 
course, we are surely quickened with a sense 
of our own un worthiness and insufficiency; 
we may derive from his memory some recol- 
lections that may lessen sorrow, and may 
quicken effort, and may exalt faith; we are 

TRA VEL. 269 

thankful for those who have departed this 
life in his faith and fear, and cherish the 
trembling hope that we, too, may be found 
* in the blessed company of all faithful people/ 
Madame de Stael used to say that travelling 
was one of the saddest pleasures of life. I 
think there is a great deal of truth in this 
phrase. Every traveller at times answers 
Goldsmith's description : * Remote, unfriended, 
melancholy, slow.' There was no one in his 
age who travelled more, or whose travels have 
been more famous, than St. Paul. Yet in a great 
degree it must have been a sorrowful matter, 
apart from his special difficulties as an apostle, 
and from those * perils,' most of which have 
been eliminated from modem life. He was a 
most affectionate-hearted man, and in various 
ways he must have been constantly wounded 
in his affection. He formed no tie which he 
was not speedily compelled to sever. He 
would come to a city and make strangers 
friends, and then soon he would leave his 
friends and sojourn among strangers. Now, 
something of this kind must happen to one 
who travels. He must at times linger in spots 


where his feeling is that it is good to be here, 
and that here he would fain set up his taber- 
nacle. Almost unexpectedly he has alighted 
on that very comer of the world which in all 
its belongings and surroundings seems to suit 
him best. He meets the most charming 
people he has ever known ; he finds himself 
taking a growing interest in the history and 
politics of the district, and irresistibly drawn 
towards the landowner or the cure ; that 
rounded bay, with the castle on the cliff, and 
the orchard in the hollow, and the ' lighthouse 
far away at sea, exactly suit his sense of pro- 
portion and beauty. He would soon be a 
botanist in those woods, and a zoologist among 
those rocks at low water. There are some 
men who find it impossible to leave, without 
some touch of sorrow, any place where they 
have resided for some little time, and whose 
moral tentacles adhere most strongly to any 
surface that may be presented to them. Even 
the most indifferent men find on some rare 
occasion that they have found that very spot 
of earth which, to the best of their own self- 
knowledge, would suit them best. But a ne- 

TRA VEL. 271 

cessity is on them, and they must be moving 
on. They are due at some other place. They 
have formed a definite arrangement, from 
which there seems no fair way of escape. 
They can hardly hope that any change will 
improve their lot for the better ; they would 
willingly compromise for things as they are ; 
they will be glad even if they can henceforth 
obtain an enduring approximation to that 
sense of contentment and calm and peace of 
mind, which for these happy days have wrapt 
them as with a mantle and guarded them as 
with a shield. But their destiny is upon 
them, and they are unable to extricate them- 

Perhaps such persons require a grave lesson 
to be taught them. Their disposition is such 
that they would most willingly linger among 

the fading bowers of earth, oblivious that 
those bowers must fade, and so forgetful of 
those only happy isles, those only amaranthine 
gardens, where an immortal soul may find an 
enduring home. Therefore it is that they find 
no sure rest for the sole of their feet, and some 
marring element is allowed to be mixed up 


witli what otherwise would be a rounded and 
happy life. Our tendrils cling so easily and 
naturally to earth, that we need to be often re- 
minded that we are but strangers and pilgrims 
here, and amid all travelling to realise that 
great travel of all, in which we seek an abiding 
city* As a man moves from land to land, and 
observes ' cities of men, nations, and govern- 
ments,' he may, perhaps, better learn to realise 
that he is but a traveller between two eterni- 

And it may even be, that whatever is most 
exalted and good in travel may be continued 
to us in a future state of existence. I re- 
member hearing of some good man who had 
never seen the Alps, but said that he intended 
to take them on his way up to heaven. Those 
who, chained down to home by the invisible 
links of a thousand duties, have never been 
able to see God's handicraft of the mountains 
and His wonders of the deep, may yet behold 
a loftier Chimborazo, a more sublime Andes, 
and contemplate the unspeakable beauty of 
the hyaline of heaven. As upon a serene 
night the stars come out, army upon army, 

TEA VEL. 27 

and the very dust of stars, beyond the ken of 
distant vision, seems, as the sand upon the 
sea-shore, innumerable, we begin to compre- 
hend the boundless possibilities of knowledge 
for those who are thought worthy to attain to 
the First Resurrection. Then one can almost 
despise the littleness of this poor, slight 
planet, and almost welcome death, that throws 
open the gates of infinite space. In the 
fathomless riches of eternity it will seem but 
as the occupation of one of the deep un- 
clouded days of heaven to take leave of 
friends, for some five hundred years, to make 
the tour of Jupiter's satellites, or examine 
into the condition of the whilom earth. Bat 
I come to a point where speculation is lost in 
awe and mysteries, and where human analo- 
gies may cease to shadow forth, even ever so 
dimly, the heavenly realities. Here, then, I 

VOL. 1. 




I SUPPOSE we are all believers in the boundless 
power of steady, persevering work. ' Never 
despair,' wrote Edmund Burke to his friend, 
* the high-souled and generous ' Wickham ; 
' but if you do, work in despair.' As Matthew 
Arnold says — 

And tasks in hours of insight willed, 
In hours of gloom can be fulfilled. 

si sic omnia ! Why should not Matthew 
Arnold give us noble poetry, instead of attacking 
worthy Dissenters, and assaulting the very 
foundations even of natural religion? And, 
as the Laureate says — 

But well I know 
That unto him that works and feels he works 
This same New Year is ever at the door. 

And to make one more quotation — 'Even in 


the meanest sorts of labour, tlie whole soul 
of a man is composed into a kind of real 
harmony the instant he sets himself to work.' 
I am not one of those who would recom- 
mend to any young man the deliberate choice 
of literature as a profession. In fact I greatly 
object to the idea of literature as a profession. 
Journalism may, and accordmg to modern 
exigencies must be, a profession, but litera- 
ture ought to lie open to all ranks and orders 
of society. There are many patent reasons 
why we can give very few encouraging words 
to those who would adopt letters as a distinct 
path in life. It is, as Bacon said, a good 
staff, but a sorry crutch. It is a good thing 
to help a man, but a bad thing whereon to 
rest. It is not the most remunerative, and 
'per se it is not the most useful of avocations. 
Then there is a very common and a very 
fatal confusion of thought between the desire 
and the ability to pursue a literary career. Then 
the competition is enormous. Most editors 
of magazines will say that they could fill their 
periodicals years in advance with very fair, 
printable matter that is sent in to them. Then 

T 2 



there is a good deal of social disadvantage 
about literature, and though bookish people 
will think well of a litterateur, to be one 
is hardly a recommendation to . society at 

Still there is another side of the case which 
has to be stated, and which is more fraught 
with encouragement. There is an enormous 
amount of ' copy ' to be produced every morn- 
ing, every week, every month, every quarter, 
every year, and there must be an army of 
writers to produce it. There is no reason 
why a man of fair culture and intelligence 
should not find some sort of service in that 
army. In the first ranks of literature stand 
the great geniuses of the world, who are on 
an intellectual platform infinitely exalted 
above their fellows. But there is also an im- 
mense literary field which may be occupied 
by the rank and file. A man of culture, 
observation, inteUigence, with a power of 
clear thought and fluent expression, ought to 
be able to find something to do. Poeta nasci- 
tur^ orator jit^ is a sajdng which may be adopted 
into the statement that while the genius 


must be bom, a man may make himself a 
fairly good writer. If he has leisure and in- 
dependence, if he has patience and industry, if 
he can afford to bide his time, let him perse- 
vere, and the chances are that his perseverance 
will be rewarded by results. And though 
one would be very sorry to induce any man 
deliberately to embrace this as a profession, 
yet to clergymen of insufficient income, to 
briefless barristers, to all who amid the rise 
of prices are condemned to fixed incomes, it 
is very allowable to try and do something 
in letters, and creditable workmanship will 
find its way at last. 

Success may be lat^ in coming, but some- 
times when it comes it makes amends for 
much previous failure. Sometimes decided 
genius has to wait as long as cultivated medi- 
ocrity. It is good, perhaps, that it should 
have to wait, for those who have obtained 
instantaneous recognition have not always 
found it for their good. Byron awoke one 
morning and found himself famous, but the 
fame helped to spoil him and slay him. 
Burns had his triumphant winter in Edin- 


burgh, but tbat ' triumphant winter ' was a 
great misfortune. As a rule, too, the fashion- 
able favourite is soon discrowned. He can- 
not do better for the world than die early 
if he has pleased the world when young. 
Many instances might be given where 
men have published again and again, with 
very limited success or no success at all, 
but feeling that they have had something to 
say, they have gone on saying it, and ulti- 
mately they have succeeded. Perhaps the 
delay was good for them. To others the 
delay has been fatal, the frost has killed. 
Humanly speaking, Keats might have lived if 
he had had the success of Tennyson, but the 
Quarterly killed him, as it afterwards tried to 
kill Tennyson, and the Edinburgh to kill 

'Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle, 
Should let itself be snuffed out by an article. 

But now the Quarterly has recanted, and 
Jeffrey is dragged in triumph at the chariot 
wheel of Wordsworth. 

And yet how slow has the progress of some 
of our greatest men been ! How exceedingly 


slow and grudging was the recognition 
accorded to Wordsworth ! Some of our most 
popular works of fiction have been refused by 
publisher after publisher. Charlotte Bronte 
. with difficulty made her way. Thackeray had 
' Vanity Fair ' returned upon his hands. 
Sometimes what appears to be a lucky chance 
will intervene. Johnson's life might furnish 
one continued allegory of perseverance against 

Similarly take Art. What a moment is 
that when the boy or girl sits down and 
makes some first intellectual effort! The 
child has read poetry, enjoyed and appreciated 
it, nevertheless with the thought that it is 
something foreign, and altogether far off from 
its own sphere. He sits down ; some thought is 
stirring in the heart, some impulse twittering 
in the brain ; some melodious lines flow forth ; 
he discovers that he too has the gift of musical 
expression. Or he has watched nature long, 
and with a suddenness of surprise, perhaps 
when stretched on the ground watching the 
colours of the foliage, or the lignes larges of 
the landscape, finds that he has the faculty of 


drawing from nature, and of reproducing those 
colours. What a pretty story is that which 
y asari tells of Michael Angelo ! ' how it chanced 
that when Domenico was painting the great 
Chapel of Santa Maria Novella, he one day 
went out, and Michael Angelo then set him- 
self to draw the scaflfolding, with some trestles, 
the various utensils of the art, and some of 
those young men who were then working 
there. Domenico, having returned, and seen 
the drawing of Michael Angelo, exclaimed, 
" This boy knows more than I do," standing in 
amaze at the originality and novelty of manner 
which the judgment imparted to him by 
Heaven had enabled a mere child to exhibit.' 
West said that a kiss from his mother made 
him a painter. Something very similar is told 
of Maclise, the great painter, whose recent 
loss we deplore. 

In the autumn of 1825, Sir Walter Scott 
made a hasty tour of Ireland, accompanied by 
Mr. and Mrs. Lockhart and Miss Edgeworth. 
Amongst other places he stayed a short time 
at Cork, and, whilst there, he visited the 
establishment of Mr. Bolster, an eminent 


bookseller. The presence of the illustrious 
author attracted crowds of literary persons 
there. Maclise, then a mere boy, conceived 
the idea of making a sketch of Sir Walter, 
and, having placed himself unobserved in a 
part of the shop which afforded him an 
admirable opportunity, he made, in a few 
minutes, three outline sketches, each in a 
different position. He brought them home, 
and, having selected one which he considered 
the best, worked at it the whole night, and 
next morning brought to Bolster a highly- 
finished pen-and-ink drawing handled with all 
the elaborate minuteness of a line engraving. 
Bolster placed it in a conspicuous part of his 
shop, and Sir Walter with his friends having 
again called during the day, it attracted his 
attention when he entered. He was struck 
with the exquisite finish and fidelity of the 
drawing, and at once enquired the name of the 
artist who had executed it. Maclise, who was 
standing in a remote part of the .shop, was 
brought forward and introduced to Sir Walter. 
The great author took him kindly by the hand, 
and expressed his astonishment that a mere 


boy could have achieved such a work, and 


predicted that he would yet distinguish him- 
self. Sir Walter then asked for a pen, and 
wrote with his own hand ' Walter Scott ' at 
the foot of the sketch. This little sketch of 
Sir Walter Scott created such a sensation 
amongst art critics and the public that Maclise, 
not without great reluctance and diffidence on 
his part, was induced by his friends to open an 
atelier in Patrick Street. 

It is related of Barry, that when a mere 
boy he performed a journey from Cork to 
Dublin on foot, with his first picture (the 
Conversion of the Pagans by St. Patrick). 
It was placed in a remote corner of one of the 
Exhibition rooms, where it was unlikely that 
any eye would rest upon it. It did not, how- 
ever, escape the observation of the great 
Edmund Burke. He enquired of the secretary 
the name of the painter. 'I don't know/ 
said that gentleman, * but it was brought here 
by that little boy,' pointing to Barry, who was 
modestly standing near his work. 'Where 
did you get this picture, my boy? ' said Burke ; 
' who painted it ? ' ' It is mine ! ' said the boy ; 


^I painted it.' 'Oh, tliat is impossible!' 
said Burke, glancing at tlie poorly-clad youth. 
It is needless to add how well Hurke befriended 
him, and lifted him into fame. 

This discovery of power takes place in the 
intellectual development of each life. I re- 
member hearing a person who had a very 
remarkable voice describe how first the con- 
sciousness of the 'gift' arose. Her mother had 
taken her to hear some celebrated singer, and 
the young girl, when she returned home, 
imagined that her voice reached as high a 
note as the celebrated singer's. It was even so, 
and a course of training soon developed the 
glorious gift. 

We will now proceed to consider some 
turning-points in the history of Science and • 
scientific men. Our first example, Blaise 
Pascal, belongs to the provinces both of Litera- 
ture and Science. 

The name of Blaise Pascal is one of the 
purest and loftiest of the great names of * 
France, or, we should rather say, of the 
human race. He lived during the time of 
the revolution in England, in which time 


a corrupt religion and a polluted Court 
were paving tlie way for a far more terri- 
ble revolution in France. He was bom at 
Clermont, in Auvergne. From his earliest 
years the child Blaise exhibited a pre- 
cocity which was extraordinary, and even 
unnatural in one so young, and which his 
father had the good sense to check and dis- 
courage. He would never permit him to be 
overtasked, and always set him lessons which 
the child would perceive at once were within 
the limits of his capacity. He would not 
allow him to begin Latin till he was twelve 
years old, but nevertheless his father would 
talk to him about the principles of language, 
which the marvellous boy easily compre- 
hended, and was fully acquainted with the 
nature of grammar before he began to learn a 
language. When he was only twelve years 
old, an incident happened which fully showed 
the bent of his mind. He noticed, as nearly 
every other child does, that glass when 
struck gave forth a long vibrating sound, but 
that when once the hand was laid upon the 
glass the sound ceased. The little philosopher 


• ~-~— — — ■ 

was determined to find out the reason of this, 
and puzzled over it and tried a number of 
experiments, and at last produced ahnost a 
regular little treatise upon the subject. His 
father was fond of making scientific experi- 
ments, which the boy used to watch with 
the utmost delight, and was never satisfied 
unless he understood the reason of everything. 
Nevertheless, the wise parent thought that at 
his tender years the exact sciences might 
prove too severe a study for him, and said 
that he should learn I^atin first and mathe- 
matics afterwards. Blaise was very curious 
about this forbidden pursuit. At least he 
might ask his father what mathematics were. 
Something was said about geometry. ' Geo- 
metry,' curtly answered his father, 'is the 
science which teaches the method of making 
exact figures, and of finding out the propor- 
tions they bear to each other.' And having 
given this definition, he told him not to think 
or talk any more about it. Innate genius, 
however, will always find its way. If he 
must do his Latin in school hours, he cer- 
tainly may amuse himself as he likes in his 


play hours. In his acute little brain the 
child puzzled over what his father had said. 
He sat down in a large room, all alone, with 
a piece of charcoal, and tried to draw exact 
circles and triangles, and to find out in what 
relations they could stand to each other. So 
carefully were scientific books kept out of his 
sight, that he "was not acquainted with any 
technical terms. The circle he called a round^ 
and the straight line he called a bar. Things 
went on thus for some time; the child was 
mastering, or rather discovering for himself 
those mathematical elements which all other 
boys learn from books with an infinite deal 
of trouble. One day his father entered the 
room where his son was so engaged, and so 
intent upon his investigations that he was not 
aware of his father's presence. His father 
asked him what he was doing. The son 
answered that he was trying to make out 
such and such a thing, mentioning the mathe- 
matical truth enunciated in the thirty-second 
proposition of the first book of EucHd. ' And 
what made you think of that ? ' said his father. 
* My having found out this,' was the answer; 


and then he mentioned an earlier truth in 
Euclid. And so the boy Blaise went gra- 
dually backward, till he came to the definitions 
and axioms out of which all geometry is ela- 
borated. The happy father was transported 
with joy at this proof of his son's genius, but 
without saying a word left the house that he 
might consult with a friend what had best 
be done. It was agreed that no irksome 
restraint should be placed upon his mathe- 
matical studies, and a Euclid was given to 
him that he might amuse himself with it in 
his play hours. 

As might have been expected, his progress 
in science was truly marvellous. When he 
was only sixteen years old he produced a 
Tractate on Conic Sections, which Descartes, 
the greatest philosopher of his age, read with 
admiration, and cojald scarcely believe that it 
had been written by one so young. At nine- 
teen he invented the celebrated arithmetical 
machine; and at six-and-twenty he had com- 
pleted those brilliant experiments on the 
weight of the atmosphere, which will always 
associate his name with Torricelli and Boyle 


These experiments and his mathematical 
works made him be regarded as one of the 
greatest philosophers of the age. 

Several very interesting moments in the 
life of Pascal may be mentioned in connection 
with his intellectual and spiritual history. 
One day, when he was visiting his sister 
Jacqueline, a sermon bell was heard to toll. 
His sister went into the church, and her 
brother also stole into it by another door. It 
so happened that the subject of the preacher^s 
discourse was the commencement of the Chris- 
tian life. He showed how well-disposed 
persons, by merely entangling themselves in 
worldly ties, put obstacles in the way of their 
salvation, and so run as to miss the prize of 
their heavenly calling. Pascal thought this 
teaching exactly met his own case, and took 
it to himself as a warning sent by God. He 
had also had another and a more terrible 
warning, in a narrow escape from a frightful 
death. One day he was going in a carriage 
with four horses to Neuilly. Several of his 
friends were with him ; it was a holiday, and 
there was to be a gay promenade upon the 


bridge. The bridge was very lofty, and a 
portion of it was unprotected by any parapet. 
At this part of the bridge the two leaders 
became restive, took the bit in their teeth, 
and, dashing aside, plunged over the bridge 
into the Seine. Providentially, the traces 
snapped, and the carriage was left firm, stand- 
ing upon the very edge. The feeble form of 
Pascal was ill adapted to stand such a shock* 
He immediately fainted, and it was some time 
before he revived. The event itself made a 
deep and lasting impression upon his mind. 
In one respect this was curiously manifested 
He would be haunted with the idea that 
danger was frequently threatening him on the 
left side — the side nearest to the danger on 
this occasion — that there lay a deep chasm in 
this direction. Pascal seems to allude to this 
in a passage where he is speaking of the 
imagination, and the vanity of man in his 
subjection to it. He says : ' The greatest phi- 
losopher in the world on a plank wider than 
the pathway which he takes up in his ordinary 
walk, if there should be a precipice beneath, 
although his reason convinces him of his 
VOL. I. u 


safety, will be entirely overcome by his ima- 
gination. Many could not even endure the 
thought of walking across such a plank without 
blanching and agitation.' 

Oiice Pascal had a remarkable conversation 
with a number of his friends on the plan of a 
certain work which he intended to write. He 
gave the name of his undertaking, opened his 
plans, and explained the order and connection 
which he intended to pursue. Those who 
heard this conversation, and who were some 
of the most competent judges in Europe, said 
they never heard a more beautiful address, or 
one more powerful, affecting, and convincing. 
Pascal was two or three hours in explaining 
his design, and the listeners formed the most 
exalted idea of what such a work would be. 
Afterwards several of them put together a 
sketch of this conversation, and one of them 
published a short account. He intended that 
this work should be a great apology for re- 
vealed rehgion. It was to set forth the fun- 
damental principles of religion, to prove the 
existence of God, and show the evidences of 
Christianity. To accomphsh this work he 


asked ten years of health and leisure. Such 
a work was nevei' produced, but after his 
death a variety of papers were found which 
showed that he had been working with a view 
to it. These detached fragments of a vast 
design have come down to us under the title 
of the ' Thoughts (Pensees) of Pascal.' It 
seems that the great writer did not even use 
a commonplace book, but when, after deep 
meditation, some startling thought occurred 
to him, he would jot it down on any chance 
piece of paper, the back of an old letter or 
any other scrap. These he would tie up in 
bundles, or string them together on a file, 
perhaps waiting for the season of good health, 
which never came. ' It is a wonder that the 
" Pensees of Pascal " have come down to us 
at all. Never, surely, was so precious a 
freight committed to so crazy a bark.' 

Curious points of ^ moments ' in scientific 
history constantly recur. There is an odd story 
connected with the discovery of the stocking 
frame to which Manchester owes so much. It 
is said that one Master William Lee, a parson 
of the sixteenth century, being enamoured of 



a lady, found to his mortification that she 
gave much more attention to her knitting 
than to his conversation. In revenge for 
which he determined to produce an instru- 
ment which should do away with the neces* 
sity of working by hand. In this he succeeded, 
but became so absorbed in his invention that 
he is supposed to have quite forgotten the lady. 
The invention was important enough, but the 
inventor's end was sad. Queen Elizabeth 
would only give him a patent for silk stock- 
ings, so he carried his invention abroad, where 
he died of a broken heart. Sir William 
Thomson, in his recent address at Edinburgh, 
discussed a wonderful epoch in the life of Sir 
Isaac Newton. Newton had satisfied himself 
that a force following the same law of varia- 
tion with the inverse square of the distance 
urges the moon towards the earth. He found 
reason, however, to doubt his conclusions. He 
compared the magnitude of the force on the 
moon with the theoretic force of gravitation 
on a heavy body of equal mass at the earth's 
surface, and he saw a great discrepancy, which 
induced him to keep back his discovery for 


many years. He heard one day a paper upon 
geodesic measurements read by Picard before 
the Royal Society, which pooited out to his 
mind a serious error in the preconceived esti- 
mate of the earth's radius. This induced him 
to think that his conclusions had been pro- 
bably, after all, correct. We are told that on 
going home to resume his calculations he felt 
so agitated that he handed over to a friend 
the work of arithmetical calculation. The 
result was the verification of the law in the 
instance of the moon's orbit. Some of Sir 
William Thomson's own discoveries in elec- 
trical science, such as of the galvanometer, are 
probably all scientific epochs, although it may 
be too early to determine the exact value of 
them. There is something very interesting 
in looking at the last days of eminent men of 
science, how they look forward to perfecting 
the science of earth in the science of Heaven. 
In Smeaton of the Eddystone's last illness, a 
very bright moon shone full into his sick 
room. Fixing his eyes upon it, he said^ 
' How often have I looked up to it with in- 
quiry and wonder, and thought of the period 


when I shall have the vast and privileged 
views of a hereafter, and all will be com- 
prehension and pleasure !' 

There are some ' moments ' of especial inte- 
rest in the career of Sir Charles Bell. The 
greatest of these was unquestionably the pro- 
mulgation of his discoveries in the nervous 
system. These, with the discoveries of Dr, 
Marshall Hall in the same direction, have 
been the greatest achievements of our age in 
this branch of medical investigation. It is 
claimed by his editor, on the great authority 
of Miiller the physiologist, that his discoveries 
are as important as that of the circulation of 
the blood. His wife tells us how he placed 
sheets of paper one over the other to show 
how the nerves increased in complexity, by 
every superadded function, until, from the 
first necessary or original act, they came to 
the grand object of man's perfection in voice 
and expression. An account of his discoveries 
in the nervous system is now contained in the 
later editions of his Bridge water Treatise. 
The writing of this Treatise, * On the Hand,' 
was another epoch in Bell's career. The re- 



suit was that his mind was thoroughly satU' 
rated with the argument for design. It over- 
flowed in his conversations, his letters, his 
addresses to the British Association. Once 
he said that he should like to show men of 
science how God Almighty made ropes and 
arches and other things which they attempted 
to do. In ^ The Hand ' he concludes : * Rea- 
sons accumulate at every step for a higher 
estimate of the living soul, and give us 
assurance that its condition is the final object 
and end of all this machinery and of their 
successive revolutions.' We doubt not but 
Sir Charles Bell would have added that there 
were at least two other epochs in his Hfe of 
tremendous importance to himself — ^the time 
when he got married and the time when he 
commenced fly-fishmg. The wife was the 
sister of his brother's wife, and it is touching 
to see how intensely he lived in the affections 
of the family group around him. We would 
willingly have some more of his letters to his 
wife both before and after marriage. ' I see 
a God in everything, my love,' he writes to 
his fiande ; ' it is the habit of my mind. Do 


you think I could have been employed as I 
have been without contemplating the Arclii- 
tect? There I am an enthusiast.' He took 
to fly-fishing because he felt his intense need 
of the country; and when he was in the 
country he felt the need of some object to 
occupy his mind . Thus he gleefully writes : 
* I have got an order for Lord Cowper's water 
at Panshanger, which is a sweet valley with a 
pretty running water. The trout are as large 
as young salmon, and give me great sport. 
These English parks are, as you well know, 
the great ornaments of England. They afford 
solitude and picturesque beauties. We make 
our temporary home in some adjoining village 
inn. These inns have every comfort in a 
small way. Without these little expeditions 
I am quite certain that J could not live in 
London.' Sir Charles had found out at least 
one simple secret of happiness. We can veiy 
well understand how, when he had written 
anything particularly good in his book ' On 
the Hand,' it was after a day's quiet fishing. 
' That varying darkness of the brown rushing 
waters, the pools, the rocks, the fantastic 


trees — go round the world you shall not see 
these unless you have a fishing-rod in your 
hand.' It is curious in looking through the 
biographies of Bell, that by M, Am^d^e 
Pichot, and the autobiography supplied by 
his own letters, to see how at these quiet 
resting places he made one step after another 
in his intellectual advance. 

Let us look at a companion picture, at 
the life of Goodsir the anatomist, abridging 
our account from that magnificent work of 
Dr. Lonsdale's, the ' Life and Remains of Good- 
sir.' We especially look at his later days. 

* To avoid visitors he went to bed at 8.30 
P.M., and rose before 5 a.m.; in this way he 
got five hours' work done before Edinburgh 
had breakfasted. He lived in rigid simplicity 
and did nearly everything for himself ; the 
sofa of the day became his bed of the night, 
80 that he slept amidst his papers and special 
preparations, and could dress or turn to work 
at any time without the fear of intruding 

* He was in the habit of receiving letters 
fi'om every man of note in anatomy and the 


natural sciences in Europe. He was viewed 
in an amiable light by all of them, and not a 
few showed him cordial friendship, if not the 
most confidential intimacy. Considering his 
reluctance to the epistolary form of writing — 
for he was a much worse example than Tal- 
leyrand in the way of putting off his replies 
from day to day and month to month — ^his 
correspondence is strikingly curious as coming 
from aU sorts and conditions of men — e. g. 
Canongate artisans, country surgeons, English 
and Irish naturalists, and Scotch noblemen. 

* One writes of him, " His public teachings 
proved the worth of his religious principles ; 
notwithstanding my previous knowledge of 
him, it needed the involuntary utterances of 
a death-bed to show me all the simplicity of 
mind and godly sincerity of heart with which 
those principles had been fostered. As he 
had been an interpreter of God's works, he 
had been also a diligent student of His re- 
vealed Word, and a truly humble Christian." 

' When the pleasure of meeting his class 
was denied him, he often spoke of his pupils; 
and, as he had conscientiously laboured to 



advance their studies, persuaded himself that 
some of them would live to interpret his oral 
teachings and extend the knowledge of his 
philosophical views to another generation. 
The anticipation that his finished labours 
would stand the test of time, and that his 
outlined work would be filled up and coloured 
by those he had taught and indoctrinated so 
well, were like pleasant breathings, if not 
anaesthetic repose, to the Goodsir couch, and 
could not fail to lend a halo to the hopes of a 
reputation beyond the grave. 

' As evidences of his philosophic, religious^ 
and speculative leanings to the very last, he 
had placed on a table beside his bed a large 
folio copy of Sir Isaac Newton's works, in 
five volumes, the Bible, and a work on 
Crystallography, with a tray of models to 
illustrate the intended publication of his 
views of organic form on a triangular basis 
— ^that magnum O'pus of his latter-day ideal 

' The youthfiil companions — John Goodsir 

and Edward Forbes — ^who had sat on the 

ame benches as students, and had frater^ 


nised so well in natural history research, 
and struggled up the arduous steep of science 
to professional eminence and European fame, 
came to breathe their last under the same 
roof. And as if the ties of life and love were 
to find a fitting response in death, the remains 
of John Goodsir are interred next to the 
grave of Edward Forbes, in the Dean Ceme- 
tery of Edinburgh. A granite obelisk marks 
the grave. The Rev. J. T. Goodsir has had 
the spiral curved line engraved on one side 
of the obelisk, to exemplify the feeling per- 
vading the professor's mind on the subject of 
organic growth — the spiral being symbolic of 
the law of the vital force^ developed in Goodsir's 

' A writer in the " Pall Mall Gazette '* says — 
" Since the days of John Hunter, no greater 
master of anatomical science, no keener in- 
vestigator of phenomena, no more compre- 
hensive grasper of generalisations, no clearer 
or more efiective expositor, ever dedicated 
himself to the great subject of anatomy, 
hitman and comparative, than John Goodsir. 
. . . The only regret will be that he has left 


so few records of his discoveries and con- 
clusions ; that in the keenness of his pursuit 
after scientific truth, he left himself so little 
time to gather up and embody in a lasting 
form his numerous incidental felicities of 
investigation and doctrine. But enough, and 
more than enough, will always remain to 
prove the brightness of his intelligence, the 
justness of his reasoning, and the philosophic 
comprehensiveness of his generalisations. . , 
No subject, however remotely connected with 
his favourite one, but was perfectly known to 
him. When in 1854 he suddenly undertook 
the task of lecturing on natural history for 
his deceased friend Edward Forbes, he was 
found a master, at every point, in the science 
which was only accessory to his own. 

' It is indeed impossible to estimate aright 
the loss which scientific knowledge and aca- 
demic education sustain through such a death 
as his. Let us hope that the generous con- 
tagion of his teaching and the lustre of his 
example will arouse in some worthy disciple 
the masculine enthusiasm, the noble candour, 
and the chivalrous self-devotion which are 


buried in the too early grave of John Good- 

• 11 

' His anatomical lectures constituted a great 
fact in his history both as a man and a teacher. 
No one in Britain seems to have taken so 
wide a field for survey, or marshalled so 
many facts for anatomical tabulation and 
synthesis. Goodsir's place on the historical 
tablet should be measured not only by his 
published writings, but by his museum crea- 
tion and work, and his professional teachings 
of thousands of men, and through them the 
germinating ideas he has scattered broadcast 
over the world of medicine. He not only 
taught in his own way, but inspired others 
by his teachings. He not only gave the 
anatomical data or the facts, but illuminated 
these facts by various hghts and interpreta- 
tions, as if revealing fresh facets on the crystal, 
and therefrom educing a fresh polarisation. 

'There was no moderation in Goodsir's 
working, and not even the relaxation which 
change of pursuit favours to a certain extent. 
It was daily, dogged, downright labour; he 
used his body as if it were a machine, and his 


brain as if nervous matter could be supplied 
as readily as English coal to a furnace. He 
exhibited in his own person what is aptly- 
designated the wear and tear of life, with 
every nerve in full tension as if for concert 
pitch. Scores of friends advised him, per- 
sonally and by letter, .to spare his energies; 
but Goodsir, prepared to " shun delights and 
live laborious days," took no heed of the 
morrow of life; now and onwards and for 
ever reflected his belief. He seemed buoyed 
up with a passionate fervour that would brook 
no delay and no temporising with its aim and 
purpose. Incessant work, continued for a 
series of years, led to the usual result — im- 
paired health, functional disturbance, and 
pathological change. To escape from the 
dissecting-rooms to the quiet of country life, 
and " to babble of green fields " is the great 
desideratum of every anatomist, and no men 
enjoy their holidays more thoroughly; but 
Goodsir scarcely ever reaUsed what relaxation 
was. When he spent a summer abroad, it 
was not by the banks of Lago Maggiore, or 
sipping the waters of Brunnen, but in the 


museums of Berlin and Vienna, On his re- 
turn from a Continental trip, when asked by 
a friend how he enjoyed his autumnal holi- 
days, Goodsir, with great truth and simple- 
mindedness, replied — " Oh ! very much indeed^, 
I spent six hours a- day in the museums with 
Miiller, Hyrtl, or Kolliker." Change and 
travel soon palled on the Goodsir fancy ; 
there was nothing so tempting to him as 
the investigation of organisms; nothing so 
captivating as the paths of discovery ia 
natural history.' 

As an example of the life of a man of 
science, we will take one who is not, indeed, 
of the very highest order in science, but one 
eminently known in his day, and whose life 
was fruitful in results — Professor Henslow. 

Endowed with great practical ability and 
earnestness of purpose, when placed amid 
ordinary duties, he achieved an extraordinary 
degree of success. As a public teacher in 
his University he succeeded in rendering 
popular an unattractive pursuit, and as a 
clergyman amid an ignorant and debased 
population he was enabled to inform his 


people with a measure of intellectual and 
religious light. At Cambridge Mr, Hens- 
low took a fair place among the Wranglers, 
and during his undergraduate course was 
noted for his devotion to natural science 
which led, a year after his inception, to 
his being elected Professor of Mineralogy, 
He so distinguished himself by his lucid and 
vivid style as to become one of the very best 
lecturers of the day. As a naturalist he 
visited the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Man, 
Anglesea, and other places, and thoroughly 
explored Cambridgeshire ; and his biographer 
relates with enthusiasm that he was so for- 
tunate as to discover some fresh- water bivalve 
shells which had previously been ignorantly 
confounded with the young of the common 
Cyclas cornea^ one of which has immortalised 
his name by receiving the title of Hmslow- 
iana. Three years later he was made Pro- 
fessor of Botany. Here the practical bent of 
his mind soon uBefolly manifested itself. A 
worthless Botanical Garden was extended 
and brought to a state of the highest effi- 
ciency, and a neglected Museum became a 

VOL. I. X 


very perfect and valuable collection. His 
lecture-room soon began to fill in a very 
gratifying manner. In the summer-time he 
and his pupils would fill a coach-and-four and 
make an incursion upon some obscure village 
in the Fens, where their boxes and imple- 
ments excited great astonishment in the 
bucolic mind. About his thirtieth year he 
married and was ordained. Once a week he 
threw open his house to undergraduate friends 
and others ; — a step peculiarly beneficial, as a 
little general society is a great desideratum 
for young men in a University town. His 
character at this time is thus very favourably 
sketched by his distinguished pupil Mr. 
Darwin : — * Nothing could be more simple, 
cordial, and unpretending than the encourage- 
mient which he afibrded to all young natu-* 
ralists. I soon became intimate with him^ 
for he had a remarkable power of making the 
young feel completely at ease with him ; 
though we were all awe-struck at the amount 
of his knowledge. Before I saw him, I heard 
one yoimg man sum up his attainments by 
simply sajdng that he knew everything. 


When I reflect how immediately we felt at 
perfect ease with a man older and in every 
way so immensely our superior, I think it 
was as much owing to the transparent sin- 
cerity of his character as to his kindness of 
heart ; and, perhaps, even still more to a 
highly remarkable absence in him of all self- 

Probably as a reward of his political ser- 
vices, he was promoted by the Crown to the 
valuable living of Hitcham, in Suffolk, worth 
upwards of 1,000Z. a year. The parish was a 
large one, and he came to the wise conclusion 
that he had better give up the University and 
attend to it exclusively. His new sphere was 
indeed one which would give ample play to his 
perseverance, courage, and healthy energies. 
For his parish was a moral waste. The villagers 
were sunk almost to the lowest depths of 
moral and physical debasement. The parish 
church was empty, and the parish rates 
enormous. The people were wanting in the 
most common decencies and the most ele- 
mentary knowledge — idle, immoral, criminal, 
to the last degree. To improve this wretched 




state of things was the new rector's earnest 
endeavour, in which he received very scanty 
help, for the farmers, only one remove above 
their labourers, opposed him with ignorant 
and unreasoning stolidity. His first effort was 
to arouse their dormant intellectual fiiculties/ 
He determined to conciliate them by amuse- 
ments. He got up a cricket-club and gave 
them an exhibition of fireworks. He wrote 
and published a set of * Letters to the Farmers 
of Suffolk,' in which his scientific knowledge 
proved of much practical use. He earnestly 
espoused the allotment system, or establish- 
ment of a Spade Tenantry. And in his own 
parish he carried out the system in spite of a 
most formidable opposition on the part of the 
farmers, his principal parishioners. He intro- 
duced the study of botany into the village 
school, and any child might be promoted into 
the botanical class who could spell such por- 
tentous words as 'Dicotyledons, Angiosper- 
mous, Thalamifloral.' This teaching of botany 
as an educational measure was taken up by 
the Committee of Council on Education, and 
botany has since been taught in other schools, 


and an inspector of schools reports very 
favourably of the Hitcham plan. Another 
means by which Professor Henslow sought to 
arouse the dormant intelligence of his people 
was by a Recreation Fund, and annual visits 
to remarkable places, and among those was a 
visit to the Great Exhibition of 1851, and 
another to Cambridge, which was planned aijd 
managed with especial solicitude. He spoke of 
a special occasion for prayer shortly previous to 
his getting the Crown living of Hitcham. It 
had been under consideration whether he 
should not be appointed to the See of Norwich, 
the bishopric of which was then vacant, instead 
of to any lower preferment in the Church. On 
heai-ing this, of which he had certain informa- 
tion from a friend, he retired into his chamber, 
and fervently on his knees prayed for some 
time that he might never be called to any such 
high office, for the duties of which he felt him- 
self quite unfit, and that he might not be 
tempted to accept it if offered to him. When 
he found afterwards that he was to have the 
living of Hitcham and not the bishopric, he 


thanked God for the issue, and regarded it as 
an answer to his prayers, 

Mr. Henslow's reputation as a lecturer stood 
so high that he was requested by the late la- 
mented Prince Consort to lecture before the 
junior branches of the Royal Family at Buck- 
ingham Palace, and we are told that * the same 
simple language and engaging demeanour that 
had proved irresistible in the village won over 
his royal audience to fixed attention and eager 
desire for instruction.' He attended the 
meeting of the British Association at Oxford 
in 1860, where he was Chairman of the Natural 
History Section, and was very useful as 
moderator in the exciting " debates that took 
place respecting Dr. Darwin's book. ' Though 
I have always expressed the greatest respect 
for my friend's opinions,' he wrote on one 
occasion, ' I have told himself that I cannot 
assent to his speculations without seeing 
stronger proofs than he has yet produced/ 
He would object to all scientific schemes that 
would not allow for the interposition of the 
Almighty. In his last days he was very much 
interested about the subject of the Celtic Drift. 


In the autumn of 1860 lie went to France to 
examine the celebrated gravel-pits at Amiens 
and Abbeville, and wrote several letters in the 
'Athenaeum/ arguing against the supposed 
great antiquity of these remains. He became, 
however, very unsettled in his opinions on this 
point, and at the time of his last illness was 
preparing to lay his conclusions before the 
Cambridge Philosophical Society, and it is 
believed that he had convinced himself of a 
date not so far back as some geologists suppose, 
but long antecedent to that usually attributed 
to man's existence on the earth. 

The account of his death is very remiark" 
able : — 'No soonei* was he told on Good 
Friday that he could not live than he evinced 
from that moment an utter indifference to his 
fete. He immediately rose superior to all 
further desire for life, all fear of death, and 
all shrinking from what he had to go through 
before death would release him. In the face 
of inevitably increasing sufferings, he set him- 
self to watch the successive symptoms of ap- 
proaching dissolution, all of which he desired 
should be conmiunicated to him by his medical 


attendants, with whom he discussed them as a 
philosopher, and without the most, distant 
references to himself as being the subject of 

them During his whole illness 

he was a model of patience and resignation to 
the Divine will. He prayed that not a mur- 
mur might escape his lips. He expressed the 
most sincere gratitude to the Almighty for 
His mercies to himself, and placed his entire 
trust in the Saviour, with absolute renunciation 
of all personal merit. He observed, " What a 
blessed thing it is to be a Christian, and a 
blessed thing for a Christian to die ! " He said 
he had not before his eyes, to his utter as- 
tonishment, that fear of death which he 
thought he should have. He placed his soul 
in the hands of a righteous Creator.' 

With this might be paralleled the language 
of William Hunter, the celebrated anatomist, 
in his last moments to his friend Dr. Combe, 
'KI had strength enough to hold a pen, I would 
write how easy and pleasant a thing it is to die/ 

There are few lives that are more interesting 
and better repay the reading than Bruners. 
There was indeed a kind of ill luck about his 


undertakings. The atmospheric railway was 
a great failure. The broad gauge has suc- 
cumbed in the battle of the gauges. The 
' Great Britain ' was stranded, and ruined the 
company. The ' Great Eastern ' had a difficulty 
in being launched, and a succession of mis- 
fortunes. But these &ilures were magni- 
ficent failures — ^great in themselves and pro- 
phetic of better things to come. The ' Great 
Eastern ' is associated with the cable between 
Great Britain and America, and the cable 
between France and America. The 'Great 
Britain ' is now one of the fastest vessels on the 
Australian line. The day for atmospheric 
railways is yet to come. Brunei's failures are 
in things the tendency of which is to come 
right at last. 

Brunei illustrates the doctrine of Atavism, 
the doctrine of Mr. Galton in reference to 
hereditary genius. The work by which he 
is chiefly known is the Thames Tunnel, and 
that famous shield by which the works were 
advanced beneath the river's bed. In that 
work young Isambard bore a conspicuous 
part; his father said that his 'vigilance and 


constant attendance were of great service/ Of 
the last ten days young Brunei passed seven 
in the tunnel, allowing himself only 3f hours 
of sleep. One day he sat down with nine 
friends to a dinner under the Thames. At 
this time he was only twenty-one, and his 
father was intensely pleased by the ability and 
presence of mind which he displayed. At 
this time, however, the works were discon- 
tmued for seven years, owing to irruptions of 
the river. Sir Isambard, who survived to his 
eighty-first year, was permitted to witness the 
extraordinary success of his son. In the same 
way the great Stephenson witnessed the won- 
derful ability and success of his son, Robert 
Stephenson, the engineer. 

Those who wish to understand the magni- 
ficent genius of Brunei should take a journey 
towards the Land's End. There is no railway 
line that possesses greater scenic magnificence 
than that through South Devon and Cornwall. 
We will take no notice of those dismantled 
edifices which recall the sad fortunes of the 
atmospheric railway. Observe how magni- 
ficently the railway sweeps the coast line, 


piercing through the projecting headlands in 
a series of tunnels. It comes between the 
sea and the pretty little town of Dawlish^ 
gracefully supported on an Egyptian bridge* 
There is a story of a misanthropic gentleman 
near Dawlisb who took a house on the very 
edge of the sea in order that he might be saved 
from all conmierce with human kind, but 
Brunei came with Ms remorseless raUway and 
drove him to despair and death. I believe 
the ornamentation of the line was Brunei's- 
It was what he especially delighted in, and he 
made his own home marvellously beautiful. 
Even the colour of the railway carriages was 
a point to which he sedulously attended. A 
few miles from Teignmouth, on the road be- 
tween Teignmouth and Torquay, is the lovely 
combe of Watcombe, so familiar to all tourists 
of the neighbourhood, where Brunei had pur- 
chased an estate, and had designed there to 
erect a mansion, and there to spend the even- 
ing of his days. The line soon skirts the edge 
of Bartmoor. Few who have passed it can 
ever forget the lovely viaduct at Ivybridge. 
The slender line of masonry seems to span 


aerial space, in the vista delicate and thin, 
while the Erne through its wooded gorge flows 
down from the moorland, through the railway 
arches to the sea. As soon as we leave Ply- 
mouth we have again the stupendous marvel of 
the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash. Many 
years before its erection Brunei had investigated 
the spot, and thought that the estuary of the 
Tamar was much too broad for any such un- 
dertaking. But time had expanded the daring 
inventiveness of his genius, and had enabled 
him to accomplish his ambitious designs. The 
chief part of this great work is the centre 
pier, which is out of sight to the public, but 
the main feature of interest to professional 
men. Here they found a rock which admitted 
of masonry being laid under a cylinder pro- 
vided with pneumatic apparatus, although 
the work was hindered by the necessity of 
having to cut through a bed of oysters and 
staunching a fountain that burst from the sub- 
marine rock. The centre pier of this famous 
bridge marks the highest point of Bruners 
achievements, though, perhaps, not of his. con- 
ceptions. It was opened by the Prince Con- 


sort, but he was himself absent from the 
scene through ill-health. He was permitted 
to make subsequently his first and last visit 
to his completed work. The Cornish line 
from the great bridge westward afibrds con- 
tinual examples of Brunei's favourite tim- 
ber viaducts and bridges. Through a long 
succession of valleys the railway seems to 
bound from height to height on these ap- 
parently frail structures which the great 
architect constructed so securely, and yet with 
comparatively little expense. Cornwall is 
famous for its picturesque scenery, but the 
railway which traverses the peninsula and 
makes it so accessible is one of the most 
remarkable features of the scene. 

It is remarkable that BruneFs great fame 
primarily arose from want of success. One of 
his first efibrts was to enter into the competi- 
tion of designs for the Clifton Suspension 
Bridge. Telford, the first engineer of the day, 
was called in as judge, and decided against 
him and all the other candidates ; he thought 
that Brunei's span was longer than could be 
employed with safety. Telford was asked to 


send in a plan of his own, but his ultimate 
plan embraced lofty towers, for which there 
was not sufficient money. Eventually Brunei 
was made architect. On one occasion he 
nearly lost his Efe. He was crossing the river 
in a basket slung from an iron bar, and the 
basket stuck fast ; he was obliged to perform 
the dangerous feat of climbing from the basket 
to the bar before he could be released. In a 
few years the funds were all exhausted, and 
it was necessary that the works should be left 
incomplete. A spell of ill-luck seemed to 
hang about the bridge. Though Brunei took 
the deepest interest in it he never saw it com* 
pleted. Not till after his death was the bridge 
finished, partly as a monument to his memory 
and partly as wiping away a slur on the 
engineering ability of the country. But the 
fact is that this unsuccessful bridge had proved 
the architect of the great engineer's fortune. 
The competition for the Clifton bridge gave 
him his first start. His son says, ^all his 
subsequent success was traced by him to this 
victory, which he fought hard for and gained 
only by persevering struggles.' His reputa- 


tion made him the first engineer of the Great 
Western Railway, often working for twenty 
hours a day. One of his assistants indeed 
calls this period ' the turning-point of his life/ 
' His vigour both of body and mind were in 
their perfection. His powers were continually 
called forth by the obstacles he had to over- 
come ; and the result of his examinations in 
the committee rooms placed him in the very 
first rank of his profession for talents and 
knowledge.' The following was a very re- 
markable ' moment ' in his career, which led 
to an inmiense extension of ocean steam navi- 
gation. There was one night a business 
meeting at Radley's Hotel of the directors of 
the Great Western Railway. Some one spoke 
of the enormous length, as it then appeared, 
of the railway from London to Bristol. Brunei 
exclaimed, ' Why not make it longer, and have 
a steamboat to go from Bristol to New York, 
and call it the " Great Western T ' The re- 
mark was received as an excellent joke, but 
at night Mr. Brunei talked it over with one of 
the directors. This led to the 'Great Western,' 
and then to the ' Great Britain ' and ' Great 


Eastern/ It was a daring achievement to 
build a vast ship of iron and to fit her with a 
screw propeller. Brunei was the main instru- 
ment of introducing the screw propeller into 
the mercantile navy, and of securing its adop- 
tion in our fleets. 

Personally Brunei was a very interesting 
and remarkable character. The odd incident 
of his swallowing the half-sovereign, which 
put his life in danger, created a feeling of 
warm personal interest in him. His sweet 
temper and sound judgment secured him many 
attached friends. His industry was prodigious, 
and he had a remarkable faculty of going 
without sleep for many hours. But, like so 
many men whom we have had to speak of, he 
seems to have materially damaged his health 
by his strenuous unresting employments. 
Humanly speaking, his life might have been 
lengthened many years save for his intense 
appetite for work. The difficulties attending 
the launch , of the * Great Eastern ' perhaps 
injured his health more than anything else. 
He had intended to go round with the ship to 


Weymouth, but the day before be was seized 
with paralysis. 

On looking back on the careers of men dis- 
tinguished in Art, Literature, and Science, 
there are a few considerations to be added. We 
see at once that it is not by any special event 
or turning-point in life, but by the whole 
tenour and work of life, that the value of such 
men's lives must be estimated. It was the 
saying of the old Greek tragedian to call no 
one happy before the day of his death. The 
saying doubtless involves a fallacy, as the 
difference of one day to all the days of 
one's life cannot be of overwhelming impor- 
tance; one happy day added to disastrous 
days, or one disastrous day added to happy 
days cannot materially vary the general com- 
plexion of human existence. At the same 
time no day is so far a decisive turning-point 
in life that it can altogether influence ex- 
istence as a whole. The day jdelds its 
happy chance, or it may altogether refuse to 
yield it, or may even render it disastrously. 
But it is the tendency of a well-ordered, care- 
ful life to reduce the domain of chance to a 

VOL. I. Y 


minimum. Let the scientific man diligently 
pass his life according to the Baconian ideal, 
' in industrious observations, grounded conclu- 
sions, and profitable inventions and discoveries,' 
and we may be quite sure that it is simply a 
matter of time when such a man makes his 
mark. The lessons taught by our survey are 
the simple lessons of thoughtfulness, activity, 
and perseverance. Any moment of success in 
life, however brilliant, passes away and leaves 
life to its ordinary current. The course of 
the stream is left unaffected by the occasional 
eddy. The poet says — 

Use gave me fame, 
And fame again increasing gave me use. 

After all, use is the great thing, far trans- 
cending the fame. The keenest delights, after 
all, such men would tell us, are in the exercise 
of one's faculties and powers, the feeling that 
their lives are well laid out to the highest 
purposes. The delight of the artist in his 
work is something more than its praises or its 
prizes. It is in the power of every one of us to 
have the keenest pleasure of high endeavours. 


Those who cannot command success may at 
least deserve it* Let no man think that his 
eflForts are such that some brilliant day will 
come which will crown them in the sight of men. 
Let no man think that any happy chance will 
do for him what he is quite unable to do for 
himself. The solid happiness will be in the 
sense of use, and in the highest sense the 
great wages will be 

* The glory of going on and not to die.' 

There are a few wise words of Schlegel's 
with which we may not unfitly close this 
chapter. Schlegel says: 'In experimental 
science, the order between faith and know- 
ledge is exactly the same. In actual life, 
every great enterprise begins with and takes 
its first step in faith. In faith Columbus, 
compass in hand, and firmly relying on 
its revelations, traversed, in his fraU bark, 
the wide waters of an unknown ocean. In 
this faith he discovered a new wofld, and 
thereby opened a new era in the history of 
science and of man. For all his inquiries, all 
his thirst and search after information, all his 


thinking, guessing, and supposing, did not as 
yet amount to a complete knowledge — ^by such 
means he could not succeed in working out a 
full conviction, either for himself or for others. 
It was the given fact, the unquestionable 
proof of actual experience, that first exalted 
his bold conception into true and perfect 
certainty. In a greater or less degree, this is 
the course by which all the great discoveries 
in science have been made; passing, by a 
slow but still advancing process of thought, 
fi^om facts up to knowledge. And the same 
character of faith is stamped on every great 
and decisive act, every important event in the 
history of individuals and of nations.' We 
thus see that it is faith which makes and 
determines so many of the great turning- 
points in life. 



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